Culture – Meeting on the Veranda

Unshaven

Not shaving for a year can lead to a lot of hair!

The last cultural question was about displays of grief. Because of the 820 languages (and mini-cultures) in Papua New Guinea, there are many ways to display grief over the loss of someone. The most common of the ones listed that I have seen as I’ve traveled around PNG is that men don’t shave for a specified amount of time if it is an important close relative or family member. Often there is a “closure” event about 6 – 12 months after the funeral to remember the dead and to mark an end to mourning. The man who chooses not to shave as a sign of grief or honor for the dead will start shaving again after this closure event.

Here is the scenario for this week’s question. You drop in on a friend. He or she greets you and then entertains you on the veranda.

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