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Flores plans for tourism with traditional rituals

Markus Makur

The Jakarta Post

East Manggarai, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara  /  Mon, October 10, 2016  /  04:23 pm
Flores plans for tourism with traditional rituals

Conducted by Motu elder Antonius Tandang, the ritual began with him inserting rice grains into an egg of a free-range village chicken (ayam kampung). Speaking in Motu language, he invited Motu ancestors as well as ancestors from other ethnic communities to join the ceremony. (JP/Markus Makur)

An annual traditional ritual called Tii Ka Embo was held by ethnic Motu at the foot of Mount Komba in Lekolembo Kampong in East Manggarai, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, on Sunday.

The entire family attended the ritual, which was held in front of their first ancestors' graves of Sunggi (the husband) and Sina (the wife). The graves are hundreds of years old. "Tii" means give, "ka" means eat, and "embo" means ancestors; thus the tradition celebrates giving food to Motu ancestors. 

Conducted by Motu elder Antonius Tandang, the ritual began with him inserting rice grains into an egg of a free-range village chicken (ayam kampung). Speaking in Motu language, he invited Motu ancestors as well as ancestors from other ethnic communities to join the ceremony. 

The entire family attended the ritual, which was held in front of their first ancestors' graves of Sunggi (the husband) and Sina (the wife). The graves are hundreds of years old.(JP/Markus Makur)

Following the egg ritual, Antonius chose an opened coconut and placed it beside the egg. A chicken and a small pig were then brought in to be slaughtered; their drops of blood were spread on the graves. The elders later forecasted whether the ritual was good or bad based on the animals' livers. Lastly, the livers were mixed with the rice that had been prepared to feed the ancestors and appointed participants of the ritual.

"Every year, prior to the planting season, we conduct this ritual at the foot of Mount Komba. It is an old site for ethnic Motu named Nunu Wula where Motu's first ancestors lived," said Antonius.
In addition to family members, officials of East Manggarai tourism and culture agency were also invited to see the ritual as they are hoping to promote the tradition to the public.

(Read also: An insight into the Rongga tribe's ancient Mbasa Wini ritual)

In addition to family members, officials of East Manggarai tourism and culture agency were also invited to the ritual as they are hoping to promote the tradition to the public. (JP/Markus Makur)

The agency head Galus Ganggus said that he always attended traditional events in the region and added them to the agency's records. "My staff even collected stories of all the indigenous ethnic rituals in East Manggarai."

He said that Bena village in Ngada regency was already famous around the world for its unique megalithic stones and the ancestors' graves. Wae Rebo village in Manggarai regency welcomed many tourists from inside and outside the country. "Tourists enjoy traditions and rituals by the people of Flores." (kes)

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