A unique custom from Bangapela

Bangapela is a riverine village situated along the banks of the Ramu River in Madang Province. What sets Bangapela apart is the unique ability of the people to hold the virtue of respect in high regard.

This community has gained this reputation from sports tournaments and the hospitality shown to both nearby and distant communities.

Before the start of the independence games, the Bangapela community gathered to “say sorry” to each other in the hopes of coming to a mutual understanding among themselves and being united during the games.

Everyone gathered and apologized to each other, men to women and children and vice-versa. The women thanked the men for apologizing to them and accepted their apologies giving them favors to play in the games.

The men asked for forgiveness so they can play with peace of mind and win the games.

According to women in the community, saying “sorry” is important to them before such big events. They believe that if they do not do so, misfortune may befall not just them but the menfolk participating in the games. With no proper apology, they believe that they may even get injured or lose all their matches.

This has been a long-standing tradition in this community.

“Displa em kastom blong mipla lo hia, sapos ol i no tok “sori” na ol i go pilai na wanem samting kamap long ol, em ol yet nau, long displa na ol save “tok sori” long komyuniti so husait i gat bel hevi long ol mas lusim rong blong ol na gim bel gut long ol,” said Constance Wara, a young community member.

(“This is our custom. It is done to ensure everyone makes peace with each other in order to prepare their team members to take the field and play safe.”)

In this modern era when traditions and customary values are fast diminishing, especially amongst the younger generation, Bangapela chooses to hold on to theirs and instil respect and obedience amongst its sons and daughters. These values are being driven by the youths themselves and not the elderly.

Loop Author