Peo­ple & Cul­ture

Flores Plus - - CONTENT -

Catholics make up a small mi­nor­ity in In­done­sia, the world’s largest Mus­lim coun­try by pop­u­la­tion; how­ever Flo­res is the home of In­done­sia’s largest Catholic com­mu­nity since the ar­rivals of mis­sion­ar­ies in the 16th cen­tury. The Catholic mis­sion es­tab­lished a vi­tal part of the is­land’s ed­u­ca­tio­nand health­care sys­tem. Un­til to­day, many hos­pi­tals are still man­aged by or­ders of the Catholic Church. The mis­sion­ar­ies also pi­o­neered road con­struc­tion.

Even though Chris­tian­ity has taken over the is­land, many el­e­ments of the be­lief sys­tems that ex­isted long be­fore the ar­rival of the Catholic mis­sion­ar­ies are still per­sis­tent, which are based upon the con­cept of com­ple­men­tary op­po­sites like e.g. man/ woman, in­side/out­side, sky/earth, moun­tain/sea, old/young. Th­ese op­po­sites are con­ceived to be in­ter­act­ing pairs of a cir­cle of life.

The peo­ple of Flo­res rep­re­sents its stun­ning cul­tural di­ver­sity; with a pop­u­la­tion of 1,831,000 (2010), the pop­u­la­tion, as is the is­land, is split into eight re­gen­cies from west to east, each with it’s own unique lan­guage, di­alects and cap­i­tal cities. Mang­garai, Ngada, Ende, Sikka and Flo­res Timur as well as their cap­i­tals Ruteng, Ba­jawa, Ende, Maumere, Laran­tuka and Le­woleba, rec­og­nizes Ba­hasa In­done­sia as the of­fi­cial lan­guage, how­ever ev­ery­day con­ver­sa­tions in Flo­res are still car­ried out in local lan­guages and di­alects.

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