NGADA AND NAGEKO

Flores Plus - - DISTRICTS & PLACES TO VISIT -

Ngada and Nagekeo is one of the old­est re­gen­cies in Flo­res. Formed in 1958, it was later split into two in 2007, form­ing the Nagekeo re­gency. There are a few me­galithic sites in this re­gion, which are ten­ta­tively listed as a UNESCO World Her­itage site. The cap­i­tal city of Ngada and Nagekeo is Ba­jawa, with a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of about 44,000. Ba­jawa is also home to some nat­u­ral hot springs that are suit­able for bathing and breath­tak­ing views of the val­ley and the Inierie Vol­cano. Ba­jawa has two mi­nor air­ports that con­nect it to the rest of the is­land; the Ba­jawa Soa Air­port and the Ba­jawa Pah­damaleda Air­port.

Here in th­ese districts you’ll find eye-catch­ing an­ces­tral shrines, im­pres­sive me­galithic for­ma­tions and rich cer­e­monies which are all in­te­gral part of the so­ci­eties that live in th­ese two districts. There are rit­u­als and cer­e­monies for al­most ev­ery im­por­tant oc­ca­sion, which vis­i­tors are most wel­comed to at­tend and wit­ness.

Reba Fes­ti­val

The Ngada peo­ple hold an­nu­ally the Reba fes­ti­val, a har­vest cer­e­mony to close the an­nual cy­cle and mark the be­gin­ning of the new year. The cer­e­mony typ­i­cally takes place in De­cem­ber in Bena vil­lage be­fore mov­ing on to sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties be­fore end­ing in Fe­bru­ary, lasting for sev­eral days in each vil­lage with mu­sic, dance and rit­u­als. In the past, the Ngada peo­ple would pre­dict the fu­ture dur­ing th­ese cer­e­monies by read­ing the in­testines of sac­ri­ficed an­i­mals, how­ever to­day they start the Reba fes­ti­val with a holy Catholic mass in­stead. A cheer­ful so­cial event, peo­ple will usu­ally re­turn to their fam­i­lies dur­ing Reba fes­ti­val to cel­e­brate.

Tra­di­tional Box­ing

Tra­di­tional box­ing or “tinju adat” are usu­ally held in the dry sea­son in many parts of Ngada and Na­gakeo. In­stead

of gloves, fight­ers wear wo­ven palm leaves as box­ing gloves, some­times with bits of bro­ken glass at­tached. Each boxer has his own coach who di­rects him on his next ac­tions dur­ing the fight. Not typ­i­cally called “box­ing” in th­ese re­gions, this sport is called a dif­fer­ent name in ev­ery re­gion; Etu in Boawae, Sagi in Soa, or Mbela in Ri­ung.

Bena and Wogo

Bena is the most vis­ited vil­lage in this district; some might even call it the “sign­board of Ngada cul­ture”. Lo­cated 16km out­side of Ba­jawa, the vil­lage is home to im­pres­sive stone for­ma­tions, an­ces­tral shrines and tra­di­tional houses. In the cen­tre of the vil­lage are the Nghadu and Bhaga shrines rep­re­sent­ing ach clan of the vil­lage and the clan’s an­ces­tors. The houses in Bena are dec­o­rated with skulls and horns of water buf­faloes and pig jaws, all sac­ri­ficed at dif­fer­ent cer­e­monies and stored to re­mem­ber the past feasts. Mean­while, Wogo is also a tra­di­tional Ngada vil­lage with all the rich­ness of the Ngada cul­ture. There are no weav­ing in Wogo like there are in Bena, with the women fo­cus­ing more on bas­ket weav­ing and the men on black­smithing.

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