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Dema As Religious Symbol In Papua New Guinea

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author defines the Dema figure, and discusses the Dema complex, its mythology and then its rituals, with a special focus on the pig festival. He revisits the issue of 'fundamental religion' and its relevance for contemporary Papua New Guinea. Regarding the pig-killing ritual, the author describes initially what was practiced until recently. Secondly, he shall examine sources which explain how this ritual was celebrated before compromises with Christianity took place. Thirdly, he shall present two explanations: that given by the people themselves, and the explanation that seems to follow logically from what people are seen to do. In the last section of the chapter, after reflecting on the demise of the pig festival in the Simbu area, Mantovani considers the relevance of the Dema symbol for contemporary Papua New Guinea. This chapter is a contribution to the phenomenology of religion.

Keywords: celebrated; Christianity; Dema; Papua New Guinea; phenomenology of religion; pig-killing ritual; Religious Symbol



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