The Sorong City of Papua Held a Noken Festival to Welcome “World Noken Day”

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Hundreds of Papuans in Sorong city enliven the “Noken Festival” which runs from December 3-5, 2017. This festival is part of the commemoration of “World Noken Day” on December 4th. The theme of this festival is “Preserve Noken as Our Cultural Symbol”.


Noken or Papuan knitted bag made of bark, orchid flowers, mat leaf, hemp rope or woven of pandan leaves; since 2012 has been recognized by UNESCO and the world as not objects cultural heritage or intangible heritage. Noken produced by the hands of Papuan mama-mama is recognized by the world because of the uniqueness and philosophical value contained in it, where it is described as “the womb of a life-giving woman.” So, no wonder if Noken has different shapes and materials, which represent the richness of the forest and the variety of uses. Noken Wamena is different from Paniai, while Raja Ampat’s Noken is different from Sorong.

Quoted from VoA Indonesia, The characteristic of Noken Papua are made from natural materials such as bark, leaves mat, and orchids. With natural dyes too, all taken from the forests of Papua. Making Noken is not easy, it takes a long time and complicated process considering the main ingredient is plant fiber. A good plant produced fiber namely melinjo, the crown of gods and orchids; which is obtained by smashing bark and then aerated to dry, before being twisted and knitted. Some tribes also give a distinctive color to the Noken, derived from fruit and leaf extracts. Some tribes provide additional accessories, such as grains that have contrasting colors, mollusk shells (a type of conch) or parrot feathers and cassowary feathers.

Ironically, Noken now has made by various forms of yarn materials supplied from the outside Papua. Noken from this yarn is increasingly coming from outside Papua, becoming a competitor for local products. The community’s knowledge of the natural Noken is even less known. The making of Natural Noken is only known by old mama-mama. Skill to make Noken even rarer among of Papua youth generations.

This is the main reason for Noken Care Community to organize Noken Festival. In order to welcome the Noken World Day which falls on December 4, 2017, youth groups, people who are members of the community of Noken lovers, activists, and Noken weaver hold a festival as a form of appreciation for recognition Noken as one of the wonders of the world. The series of events held to celebrate the World Noken Day festival namely; Noken goes to School, Selfie Noken, Art Performance, Noken Exhibition, Noken Parade, Workshop, and Culinary Bazaar. The series of festivals in this Hocky field, Sorong city, is held until December 5th.

Keywords: Papua, West Papua, Sorong city, Noken, World Noken Day, Noken Festival, cultural heritage, art, culture, Papuans

Sakhiyatun K (MaCDIS Researcher)