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Pig Killing Ceremony - Enga Province

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

THE ENGA'S FAMOUS PIG KILLING CEREMONY....(warning of graphic images here) ---------------------------------

Pig killing or feast in Engan Cultural Context has radical meaning rather than mare occasions of a luncheon meal . Pig this day in Engan society is parochially a legal tender, has high monetary values and culturally important commodity that can be traded with or used for problems solving, bride price payments, moka and other  social, cultural and religious obligations. Even if most beauties embodied in this vibrant tradition have diminished largely due to invasion by western influences, pig killing remains a predominant aspect of Enga's diverse cultural practices and usually coincides with special ceremonial occasions in funeral or weeding feasts. This write-up tries to take you to understand the in-depth explanation of pig killing ceremony in the famous Engan cultural society.


I can still remember some moments in life when my father killed up to10 herd of pigs to mark some important occasions like funeral feast of my granny or weeding feast for my elder brother. A day before unfolding the big occasion, some old people from far distance came to my house and overnight with us for a reason later unveiled to be for something called primary extracts ( mena lyo in vernacular). This is first part after the slaughter and distributed among only those who were present and it gave a very delicious taste.  Like backyards of virtually most traditional homes, there were several edible herbs, in vernacular called (hem, alahum , taka and takani) grown naturally and usually in clusters. Old women squashed those stuff on the bread fruit leaves over the night in readiness for primary extracts the next morning. The lyos were roasted with the stuff which were prepared earlier and that was the perfect combination. When main carcass went into the mumu pit, lungs of all pigs that have been killed were removed, partly toasted in the fire then did short-lived mumu (ground steaming). That meal was purposely for adult males present at that juncture. I was chased away when going closer for reason being a toddler, and deceived eating ghost's craps.  Analogically, intestines were limited to women alone and could be by adults.


The large pigs are killed using bat shaped wooden rode, in Engan its called 'kindone'. Its made of rigid tree species and are usually dried against the ceiling of traditional houses to ensure pig must die on first strike. If its a large pig, forelegs are pulled backwards causing it in prone position. The striker then hits it once on the forehead causing unconsciousness which follows by several blows on the various regions of the head purposely to smash the skull into pieces. If its a light weight pig, a macular man can lift it up for striker but there are risks of hitting the lifter if precautions are not taken.


A platform is constructed and its area can be determined by size of pigs to be killed. The dead pigs after head stricken are pulled towards the platform but before that whole body has to be drenched with splashing water to ease removal of furs and scalps in the fire. The body of pig is then placed on the  blazed platform and oscillated until all furs are burned out completely. The pigs destined for the occasion are enumerated have their heads stricken, dressed for slaughtering then going under the pit for steam cooking with hot stones. Pit steaming or mumu is the only method still practiced in Engan society both in indigenous and urban communities like the capital city of PNG.


Pig killing is captivating event thus it normally draws multitude of people. Large open space area in any village is preserved for significant events as such so pork meat and other stuffs are taken down to common place. If its a group party or a particular clan hosting the occasion, carcass meats are arrayed and displayed for Engan Scientists (Foretellers) to predict events ahead in relation to the people who organize the party or any imminent events which might concern the whole community. Before main part of the meat are shared, there is something for recognition of longtime friends and that preliminary offer is called "Tasakali" a parochial term for Enga alone. Today, its superseded by a can of coke plus something to affirm the Engan way of nurturing lasting relationship. The main portions of the pigs are cut into several pieces before distributing them according to preplanned and usually it's within the intimate people...

Pig killing is very interesting culture and still holds strong in Enga province. So many events of such are held during festive periods especially Christmas and or mid year. There are lots of activities in Upper Lagaip district which involved raising pigs as ceremonial activities or for entrepreneurship business to raise funds for family livelihoods and other ceremonial purposes.

The author of this article can be contacted on Email: for any interested people to experience the taste of this awesome occasion or culture of Enga people of PNG.

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