The Manggarai Tribe in Flores

Flores is a beautiful place. Labuan Bajo has become one of the famous tourist destinations in Flores. Reviews of beautiful places on Flores are already in another article. This time we will review the indigenous Flores culture, the Manggarai Tribe.

The Manggarai tribe community is spread on Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province. This tribe is spread in three regencies in this province, namely West Manggarai Regency, Manggarai Regency and East Manggarai Regency. The population is around 350,000. Manggarai language is the language they use everyday. This language consists of several dialects, such as the Pae, Mabai, Rejong, Mbaen, Pota, Middle Manggarai, East Manggarai and West Manggarai dialects.

History of the Manggarai Tribe

Manggarai was a kingdom in ancient times. At present we can still see the remnants in the form of administrative zoning procedures. This division of traditional territory is in the form of a large area called Dalu. In ancient times, this number reached 39 units. Each Dalu is controlled by one clan or Wau. In each Dalu there are a number of Gelarang and underneath there are villages called Beo.

The people of Wau who are dominant and dominate Dalu are aristocrats. Between one Dalu and another Dalu there is often a marriage relationship in the system they call a stove marriage. Between Dalu and Gelarang marriages often occur too, because a Gelarang generally is also controlled by a dominant Wau.

Dalu as a royal subordinate is led by a Kraeng, who is usually called Kraeng Adak. Kraeng who is considered meritorious is entitled to obtain the title of Sangaji from the king. The existence of the dominant Wau then in Manggarai society there is a fairly clear social strata.

First is the group that considers themselves nobles, who usually wear the title kraeng. Second is the ordinary people called ata lahe. The third group are slaves or mendi. At present there are no such social strata because people are already familiar with education.

Manggarai Tribal Civilization Relic

There are some relics from the Manggarai tribe that have been designated as national culture. The five ancestral heritages are

1. Caci Fighting Show

This relic is like a battle stage rather than dance. The traditional sport called caci is a show of fighting and beating each other by using a whip and shield which is played by two young men in a large field. This performance is carried out by skilled players.

The caci performance begins with the Danding dance performance, before the caci fighters compete for dexterity in hitting and parrying. The dance is usually also referred to as Tandak Manggarai, which is performed specifically only to enliven the caci fight.

2. Penti

Penti ceremony is a thanksgiving ceremony. Penti is performed as a sign of gratitude to Mori Jari Dedek (God the Creator) and to the spirits of the ancestors for all the results of their labors that have been obtained and enjoyed, also as a sign of celung cekeng wali ntaung (changing seasons and changing years).

This ceremony is usually done after all the harvest process is completed (around June-September). This event is held every year but often every three or five years. There is a belief that if this event is not done, it will make Mori Jari Dedek angry and there will be disasters that befall the people of Manggarai.

3. Barong Lodok

Barong Lodok is a ceremonial ritual that is actually a process of distribution of customary land. Barong: odok is carried out by large families who live in a traditional house of Gendang or Mbaru Niang. Similar ceremonies are also performed by families who live in the Tambor traditional house. Both are believed to be the forerunners of the existence of the Manggarai tribe.

Tua Teno is the only party that has the authority to divide the land. Land that is divided varies in size and position. The difference is based on social status in the community. The division of land is quite unique. The vast land is given a dividing line like a spider’s web. And those who have the highest social status get land in the middle position.

Manggarai Tribe
Wae Rebo Traditional Village. Source Unsplash

The legacy of the Manggarai Tribe is determined to be a national culture because in the rites and inheritance there are contained many stories and philosophies of life of the Manggarai Raya community.

Wae Rebo Village is one of the heritages included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites which are still alive in the midst of global cultural currents. Wae Rebo traditional village which is a unique village and only has a few families has become one of the traditional villages that are protected.

That is a review of the Manggarai tribe in Flores. Together with Nusatoutindo which provides Komodo tour package services, you can find indigenous Manggarai people who have a unique culture. We are waiting for your arrival in Flores!

Leave a Comment