The members of the Papuan cultural group are composed of various tribes in Papua New Guinea and most of them live in rural areas. In isolated regions, they have communal structures that used to house the entire male population. They form part of the larger grroup known as Melenesian and subscribe to a similar mythology and religion to the Fijians. The members of the Papuan cultural group are related to the Iatmul and the Marind-anim as well as to the Asmat and the Sepik River. There, they share their culture’s concepts of big men, great longhouses, dugout canoes, and cannibalism.
Although ancestors are important in the culture of Papuan tribes, they are not regarded as highly esteemed in traditional ceremonies. In traditional ceremonies, ancestors are usually depicted as either humans or animals, though masks have also been used to represent both. The large scale ceremonies that were conducted during the 1950s eventually declined as missionaries started converting the villages.
The concept of ancestor worship and animistic beliefs are also heavily regarded in the culture of Papuan tribes. In terms of practical matters, the weather is also a major focus of ceremonies in the region. Aside from the weather, other important aspects of life are also celebrated in these ceremonies. The belief that ancestors are the objects of evil is also a major theme in traditional beliefs. In addition, the practice of killing witches and sorcerers is also widely practiced in the region.