Asmat, Jipae
60 cm
Every few years the Asmat organize a jipae feast in which the recently deceased transfer from the world of people to the world of the spirits. The ceremony is held for important people who have passed away since the previous feast and return for just one evening and one night.
The festival takes months of preparations. One family group is organizing the feast and people will wear jipae costumes representing the dead. It is carefully chosen who will wear these costumes because after the ceremony they will take rights and obligations of the deceased, par example orphans will have new parents after the festival.
During the ceremony the leader will call the names of the dead he tells the villagers that they are tired and hungry and looking for food and a place to sleep. The jipae dancers will walk along the houses so that the family members can ask all kind of questions regarding the well being of the spirits of the deceased. Then they will leave the village and go into the forest. They come back after dark to dance and eat all night long. The following morning, the dead, now properly fed and entertained depart for the realm of the ancestors