mortemtraditions5

5

Finger Amputation


A now banned ritual, it used to be common among the Dani people of Papua New Guinea to cut off their fingers if they lost a loved one. The removal of one’s fingers symbolized the pain and suffering that comes when you lose a loved one.

This was to help ward off any bad spirits and really show them that you’re not handling the death of your family member well, so they should just go away.

In order to cut off the finger, they would first begin by tying a string incredibly tight around the finger they were going to lose. Then, another family member would chop it off with an ax and cauterize the open wound.

You would do this every time a loved one close to you died. What happens to those unfortunate enough to lose more than ten members? It seems pretty difficult to have to lose both a family member and part of your body at the same time.