Flores Culture Rich in Tradition
Flores boasts breathtaking scenery, spectacular volcanoes, hot springs, clear blue seas and pristine beaches, with black, white or even pink sand. Back in the day, the Portuguese appreciated the splendor of the place by naming in Flores, meaning “flowers”.
Flores is a culturally very diverse place. It can be roughly divided into 10 ethnicities with their own languages, yet within these the languages they also differ ever so slightly between villages. Indonesian is widely spoken as well, and is the lingua franca all over the island.
Like everywhere in Indonesia, religion and spirituality are an important part of life. If you engage in conversation with Indonesians, one of the very first questions will be about your agama (religion) : something many westerners find bewildering. In Flores, 90% are Catholic and even in the smallest villages there is a church. Muslim minorities can be found along the coast, and all bigger towns have Mosques. Greater Muslim populations can be found in Ende and Labuan Bajo.
Ancient traditions and rituals (adat) are still very much alive as well and have been interwoven into Christianity. Often, two opposite concepts such as man and woman, earth and sky, inside and outside, form the base of these traditional beliefs. Mutual dependent, one unable to exist without the other, they form a circle of life whose continuity has to be maintained through rituals and ceremonies. Spirit, good or evil, are omnipresent and meddle with people’s lives. Regular help keep them at bay.
Flores People Culture an island stretches on East Nusa Tenggara has tradition and life preserved among the strong current of modernization. Ceremonies are held at major events in people’s lives, such as birth and death, weddings, travelling and in case of illness. Communal rituals are performed to bless sowing, planting, or harvesting.
The Indonesian word ikat means “to tie” and in this case refers to the beautiful hand-woven fabric for which Flores is famous. Ikat weaving is done all over the island but especially in eastern Flores. The whole process is completed manually, starting with the spinning of the thread and the dyeing. All the dyes are made from natural ingredients such as leaves, wood, or roots, cooked and mixed together. Before dyeing, the threads are skillfully tied with color- resistant fibers, so that the bound sections remain white. This creates the design as the right way. It takes about a month to finish a small ikat. All patterns and motives have a story or a meaning. Some are for men, some for women. Styles and colors vary among regions and villages. Ikats provide an important source of income for many villages.