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Flores Cultural Highlights
 
Ritual and Festivals

Rebha festival held regularly in Bajawa area � Central Flores. It normally held between the month of December and February. It is a kind of New Year festival but also as the time when the farmers thank their Almighty God for the abundance of food and healthy life during the year. The dancers (in circle) chant the theme of OOO UWI, it is to thank God who gave their ancestors sweet potato at the long draught period in early times. So, they could survive the difficult years.

Caci or Larik:
it is a kind of martial art performed in Riung and Ruteng area. Caci is a mixture of dance, singing and technical skill in attacking the opponent artfully. The are two players, the attacking person using whip made of buffalo hide, while the opponent challenge it by protecting himself with round shaped shield made of buffalo leather and a bent bamboo stick (several thin bamboos tied together). The two players will hit each other by turn. The main target is the face of the opponent. The most skillful ones normally got alias name which the opponent may take it of he succeed in hitting the face of the �champion�. It is a bloody game indeed. Caci is performed any time during the year in Ruteng area, if there is wedding ceremony of the riches. Caci in Ruteng area is performed only to celebrate happy cultural occasions such as Penti (thanks giving day), Congko Lokap (inauguration of traditional house), and in recent years widely performed in celebrating the anniversary of Indonesian Independence Day. But Caci is performed seasonally in Riung area, it normally held between September to December.
 
Sagi, Etu, Mbela (Traditional Boxing): it is held in central Flores in the area of Boawae/Nagekeo (Etu), Soa (Sagi) and Riung (Mbela). Instead of using gloves the fighters use a woven lontar palm stalks glued with broken bottles or grains of sand at one hand as the only tool to attack the opponent. Sagi or Etu or Mbela normally held during dry season after harvest. Mbela in Riung area held on Thursday on the first week of July.

Cultural Monuments


Mbaru Gendang (Ruteng area)
The traditional House of Manggarai is called Mbaru Gendang or Mbaru Tembong (the Drum House), conical shaped with thatch roof extending down to the floor. It is a central place of ritual authority, organizing the ritual activities and controlling the village�s agricultural land (Lingko). Mbaru Gendang is also normally a huge house that accommodates more than one family living in it. It is found in one village; Mbaru Gendang holds eleven families� altogether. In recent times the original type of Mbaru Gendang almost come to extinct, due to the change of life style and modernization.

Compang (Ruteng area)
Compang is a kind of altar, made of a pile of stones with a banyan (Ficus) tree often planted in the middle, located in the central of the village. It is sacred place for the village where sacrifices are performed and offering for ancestors are made. Sometimes the bodies of important people are buried round it.

Lingko  (Ruteng area)
Lingko is a spider web shaped farm that belongs to all lineages living in the Mbaru Gendang. It is believed to represent Mbaru Gendang indeed. The shape if Lingko is imitating Mbaru Gendang, which is cone, shaped. Lingko is divided into pie-like sections that belong to all members of the village represented by the lineages living in the house. There is Lodok (sacred place) in the centre of the Lingko. It symbolizes the unity of �Father above and mother below� with the Teno wood stake and small altar made of stone. Sacrifices are often made here, and the design of the Lodok is very similar to the design of the Compang in the centre of the village. Lingko also symbolizes the harmony of life among the members of the lineages living in the Mbaru Gendang.

NGADHU AND BHAGA   (Bajawa area)
The functions and meaning of Ngadhu are multiple, but basically they symbolize the continuing presence of ancestors. The Ngadhu is 'male' and the Bhaga 'female', and each pair is associated with a particular family group within a village. Some are said to have been built to commemorate people killed in long-past battles over land disputes and may be over 100 years old. Periodically, on instruction from ancestors in dreams, a pair of Ngadhu and Bhaga is remade according to a fixed pattern, accompanied by ceremonies, which may involve buffalo sacrifices.
 
The main post of a Ngadhu, known as sebu, should come from a tree which is dug up complete with its main root, then 'planted' in the appropriate place in the village. Each part of the post has a specific design carved on it on different days: an axe and a cassava on the top part; a dragonhead in the form of a flower in the middle; and a geometric design around the base. The three parts are also said to represent the three classes of traditional Ngadha society: from top to bottom, the gae, gae kisa, and hoo. A cross beam with two hands holding an arrow and a sword links the top of the pole to the roof. The walls of the Bhaga must be cut from seven pieces of wood. Near the Ngadhu there's usually a small stone post which is the 'gate keeper', while the bases of both Ngadhu and Bhaga are often surrounded by circles of stones, said to symbolize meeting places.

KORKE (East Flores)
Korke is the clan�s shrine where the religious ceremonies are held to communicate with Gods and ancestors. It is also place where people entertain themselves several times a year through dancing and big fast. There is stone construction in KORKE named NUBA � NARA some people understood it as a symbol of the first couple of human being on earth; the others understood them as a sitting place of AMA LERA WULAN (father sun and moon) who present during the holy sacrificing to bless the sufficient amount of pouring rain to fertilize the land for the clan.

There is believe that the joyful communal ceremonies held in Korke could rise power to make people certain to work in the field and in turn it could bring a successful harvest. The feel of freedom, loose and ecstasy brings magical power which spreading from each individual to the village, Korke and fields around. There is �dance floor� in Korke named NAMA, square shaped surrounded by volcanic stonewall called MANATU. The BELEDA � the stone monolith � built on Manatu to represent the supporting clan of the KORKE. During the KORKE rituals those monoliths often marked with blood of sacrificed animals.
 
Traditional textile of Flores

Technically Flores typical weaving divided into two types. They are Ikat and Supplementary weaving. Ikat is internationally recognized as typical Indonesian weaving method. To get the motives and pattern the threads are tied and deepen into the color substance - normally in liquid form. Whilst Supplementary Weaving is a technique of adding threads to the weft or warp while weaving process still on going.

Natural dyes are commonly used in Flores. They come from indigo for blue and black, bark of mango tree and leaf of bean for green, curry ginger to extract the yellow color and Mengkudu (Morinda Citrifolia) for red or brownish colors (Mengkudu is named differently in each places: Kembo in Lio Language, Klore in Sikka and Bur in East Flores)

Ikat weaving is mostly practiced throughout Flores except in the area of Riung and Manggarai (around Ruteng). Each area has their own typical design and name.  Lawo Butu in Bajawa area is considered almost in extinction. Lawo Butu is a mixture of bead embroidery and Ikat Weaving. The main color is blue black with figurative Ikat designs resembling horses and other creatures. Neighbor to Bajawa is Nagekeo area, which is known for Hoba Nage. It is a kind of men blanket with reddish color mix with blue black indigo stripes. Hoba Nage is almost in extinction too as it is now rarely produced.

Moving eastward to Ende and Lio area there is Lawo Nggaja in Ende and Lawo Mure in Lio area. Mure is much similar to Lawo Butu as it is a mixture of bead embroidery and Ikat weaving. Further east to Maumere area there are plenty of Ikat designs. The well-known ones are Sikka and Watublapi where Ikat with crocodile and horse motives exist. Whilst East Flores offers more ancient art of weaving. Just to mention one village, Lewokluo � this village produce Kwatek Kinge. The sarongs are brownish in color and decorated with seashells. It is considered to be the only place in Indonesia where seashells are still in use to enrich the sarong design.

The other typical Flores Textiles are weaved in Supplementary Weaving technique. It is commonly practiced in central and west of Flores. Commonly named as Songke or Congke in Ruteng area, and Lipa Dowik or Lipa Subik in Riung and Mbay area. The base colors are black or blue black. The motives are supplemented while the sarongs are weaved. The supplemented thread color normally yellow, red and green. Geometric pattern are commonly used and each design got names.

Both Ikat and Lipa Dowik bear important cultural values. They are used in daily life for practical purposes as well as for �adat� tools. It used on the wedding arrangements, to value buffalo or horse and of course as economic goods. They are sold in the markets.

Language of Flores

There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the districts of Ngada and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least 7 separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Riung, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So'a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha. Manggarai language is spoken in western part of the island, whilst Sikka, Tana ai and Lamaholot are spoken in the eastern part of the island.


 
 
 
 
 

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