The death of a loved one can be a traumatic experience. The suffering, pain and anguish associated with the death of a loved one can cause emotional stress. Different cultures have a way of mourning their loved ones. Some cultures often cut their hair, some other cultures may be seen wearing black clothing when mourning their loved one. However, there is a culture that go as far as cutting their fingers after the death of a loved one.
The women of Dani tribe in Papua, New Guinea often go through a ritual of cutting off the top of their fingers upon attending the funeral of their loved one. The women of the tribe cut off the top of their fingers if they lose a family member or child. They believe that it keep the restless spirit away. This is also a way of showing physical pain as an expression of mourning and sorrow. They believe that the physical expression of pain is essential to the grieving process.
The ritual of removing the finger is done by first tying a string around the upper half of the finger for about 30 minutes, this allows the finger to be numb for a near painless removal. The finger is removed by using an axe and the open sore is cauterized both to prevent bleeding and to form new calloused finger.
Other ways which they use to remove the top part of their fingers includes; chewing at the knuckles to weaken them then, a piece of rope is tied around the finger to cut off circulation. They also tie up the joint of the finger in order to stop blood flowing to the area, the muscles and nerve die due to oxygen deprivation and the dead part of the finger falls off.
Though, the practice have been banned but it is believed that the practice still continues in secret because many older female members can be identified by their cut fingers.
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