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Tradisi ratapan (helaehili) adalah kebiasaan masyarakat Sentani meratapi orang yang meninggal dalam perkabungan. Helaehili ini dilantunkan secara spontan dalam bahasa Sentani. Akan tetapi, ratapan ini sudah tidak dipraktikkan lagi seiring dengan hilangnya para pelantun heleahili dan tidak ada pewarisannya. Studi ini membahas (1) mengapa ada tradisi ratapan? (2) cara pelantunan ratapan (3) pentingnya pewarisan tradisi ratapan. Data dikumpulkan melalui observasi, wawancara mendalam, dan kelompok diskusi terfokus dengan para informan, yaitu para pemangku adat, tua-tua adat dan para sesepuh Sentani di wilayah Sentani Timur dan Sentani Tengah pada tahun 2019. Studi menggunakan pendekatan sosial budaya dan menyimpulkan bahwa (1) ratapan (helaehili) dilantunkan sebagai ungkapan duka masyarakat Sentani yang “menolak” adanya kematian, rasa kehilangan dan hormat kepada yang meninggal, (2) lantunan dilakukan oleh orang tertentu, spontan, menggunakan bahasa Sentani tinggi, dan formula tertentu, (3) pewarisan helaehili penting karena lantunan ini sarat akan filosofi, pengetahuan tradisional, sejarah, nilai sosial-budaya, dan berbagai pesan moral sebagai identitas masyarakat Sentani.
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