General info
 
Lembata Regency is a small island just adjacent to Flores Island in the west and Alor Island in the East.  The island covers of 1,200 square kilometers with the population 100.000 people live on the irregularly shaped. Most of the people have converted to Catholicism, but there are about 8,000 Muslims and perhaps 6,000 followers of the old animist faith. Lewoleba, on the west coast, is the only real town on the island and the site of one of eastern Indonesia�s largest traditional weekly markets.

History

Lembata was called Lomblen during the Dutch colonial era.  After the World War II, the little town of Lewoleba started to grow. In the early 1950s, the first Bajao � semi nomadic fishermen � arrived from Adonara to built stilted huts on the tidal flats off Lewoleba. In the late 1950s, wild pig still roamed around Lewoleba and Hadakewa was still more important village. But when the government of Indonesia and the Catholic Church decided to base their activities in Lewoleba this made the little seaside town pre-eminent, and Hadakewa was relegated to a neglected sub-district capital.

Practically nothing is known of Lembata before the Europeans arrived. The islanders offer various legends of origin, including that they simply came out of a hole in the ground, some Lembatanese believe their ancestors sailed here from parts unknown, and on the South coast there are stones laid out to represent this craft.

Culture and Arts


Most of the villages maintain Koker (the temple huts), which kept outside the village.   Koker is a kind of shrine to put offerings for the spirit of their ancestor in the form of food, cigarettes and betel nuts even animals to gain the favor of the supernatural world.

The very popular yearly event in this area is the Pesta Kacang � the Bean Festival. In the 1960s, the Bean Festival had almost died out, but under the tolerant eyes of the Catholic Church, the government gave it some encouragement as part of national wide policy to encourage some regional traditions.

The �New� Bean Festival last just three days where as in the past it was a weeklong. In the 1st day is a private celebration involving prayers and offerings to the local village spirits, both deified ancestors and the spirit of the land. The last two days are the most fun � thousands of people show up and join the dances (hamang), and of course to feast and drink a bit too much palm wine. These festivities might find in almost village such as at Lamagute in July, Mawa in August, Lawatolok in September, and Jontona in October, and the last festival is in November at Lamariang village.