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There is a prescribed ritual to be followed during the Kulama ceremony.
The Kulama design depicts this important ceremony of the Tiwi people; the dancers and singers create a circle and prepare the poisonous yam for eating, as indicated by the circles in the painting.
The Kulama ceremony was given to the Tiwi people by the Nyingawi, who are little spirit people (as depicted in Tiwi mythology). It is a celebration of life and food, occurring at the end of the wet season.
The Tiwi know when to perform Kulama when the last full moon of the wet season has a yellow halo surrounding it, which tells them that Japarra (the moon man) is ready for it to begin.