KUNDIAWA - The famous Simbu pig kill, 'bugla inngu' in Kuman, was a celebration of fertility rites at a time when the people saw they had plenty of pigs, bountiful gardens, population growth, and peace and harmony.
This was the time for celebration and the coming event was announced by initiated men blowing the sacred bamboo flutes at night.
Singing and dancing were part of the celebration as was the Simbu sun cult, referred to as ‘aril’, marked by a wig worn by dancers who had gone through certain rituals.
The display of the ‘gerua’ board with different designs worn during the dancing by selected people was a similar ancestral veneration.
Towards the final event, there was a ‘mok’ dance performed by the whole tribe. It was called ‘bugla tabuno’ in Kuman, the secret dance of the fern leaves.
The dancers circled around the ceremonial ground beating their kundus and holding spears in an orderly manner towards the ‘bolum’ shrine, built the night before the final dance and pig kill.
The bolum was decorated with slaughtered pigs and the best food. Women would sit around the bolum wearing kaukau leaves on their head as an offering to their ancestors.
The bolum was the sacrificial object and the most secret and the greatest moment of the Simbu people.
The bolum post was cut from a selected tree, called ‘mondo’, and only men with the right magical spells or rites could plant the posts.
With the arrival of the early missionaries, the pig kill was not abolished but acculturation took place. Inside the bolum, for example, was placed a crucifix and magical spells and other rituals were not used.
On the final day of pig slaughter, after the pigs were killed they were lined up towards the rising sun as an offering to ‘Neno Ande Yagle’ meaning 'Sun, Our Father'.
As you can see, our ancestors had a concept of a creator but it was remote and isolated until Christianity revealed it to them as God the father. The people accepted Christianity without hesitation.
Prayers and the use of holy water were also used. A priest or church leader was normally invited to bless the pig killing.
The last time I witnessed a pig killing ceremony was in 1973 when I was a small child. I regret that it's now all gone.