The Sepik River


The Sepik River
Photo by: jurvetson , Creative Commons

The region of Sepik is a very large reserve grassland which is surrounded by a long river that is 1, 126 km originating from the mountains of the region and eventually draining to the sea. The inhabitants that live along the riverbanks depend upon the Sepik River for their transport, food and water supplies. The community has cultural customs which was influenced by their association with the river and is depicted and symbolized in their rituals. These customs and traditions have been passed on from generation to generation and are still practiced even today.

One of the most popular and intriguing customs observed in Sepik river communities is the practice of initiating boys to manhood. The ritual is accompanied by flesh carving on the backs of males who will be initiated using sharp tools such as knives or blades. Artworks on the flesh depict crocodiles which thrive in the river. Crocodiles have been an integral part on the lives of the locals and have a profound effect on their art.

Sepik River culture reflects their vast history which is a melting pot of influences by missionaries, businessmen, and foreign cultures. Contrary to the belief that crocodiles are threat to humans, the locals have come to accept their existence and they have learned to live in harmonious respect with nature.

The Sepik River resembles a coiling shape and its length can be fairly traveled although the river doesn’t have a delta. Because of the river’s force, huge masses of mud are accumulated and this results to the brown coloring of the sea which is directly connected to the river.

If you travel to the Sepik River area, you will be embarking surely on an adventure. The arts and crafts are popular even to Western collectors. Many great museums have special collections dedicated to the Sepiks and immersing yourself with these arts will surely delight you. Looking for an exotic experience? Give yourself a fresh start with a unique experience in the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea.

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