[Culture] Matausa Cleansing Rite of Passage

Matausa cleansing rite of passage is a coming of age blood ritual done by the young boys of the Matausa tribe, Papua, New Guinea.

[Photo Credit: Scoope]

The Matausa tribe of Papua, New Guinea follow a rite of passage where young boys use various means to cleanse themselves of female influences before manhood. This rite of passage is believed to get rid of all filthy influences your mother may have left behind when you were born.  The boys must release as much female-infected blood as possible.

Interestingly, this rite of passage is so secret that not everyone in the tribe has witnessed it. This rite of passage is believed to help a boy coming of age to realize his true strength when his body is cleansed. It is believed that if you pass through this rite, then you have made the transition from a boy to a full grown man.

Although, the rite is done by boys who want to become men with proper guide and demonstration from the elders, it is not a compulsory one. You have a choice to not pass through the rite and be viewed as a weak member of the clan or pass through the rite and be viewed strong and capable. Young boys will however suffer the consequences of not going through this rite their entire life.

The Matausa cleansing rite involves four stages of cleansing. So, young boys who have made the decision to endure the blood cleansing rite to become a man must first take a long walk through the forest and then wash themselves in the creek.

The second step is inserting two thin long strips of canes into the throat until they vomit. After the stomach is cleaned out, they now clean the woman dirt by taking bundles of reeds and thrusting it up their nostrils to reach the throat cavity, causing the young boy to bleed profusely

The last step is to stab the boys’ tongue with small arrows and bows. The elders repeatedly stab the young initiate till enough blood has been released. This is when the young boy is considered brave and fit to be called a brave man.

Once the rite is finished, the boys are then seen as attractive to women and brave to men. They are now seen as brave enough to protect their own family.


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Written by Monsurat

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