Manggarai Ethnic Culture


The Manggarai ethnic culture is tribe culture that involves the life of Western part of Flores island. The Manggarai ethnic is speared into 3 main districts in the East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia.

Here is the main district of Manggarai in the province of Nusa Tenggara:

  • West Manggarai Regency
  • Manggarai Regency
  • East Manggarai Regency

According to the historical, Manggarai ethnic was controlled under the Bima tribe from Sumbawa island and Makassar from Sulawesi island. There were around 500.000 Manggarai people in the late 20th century.

The Tradition Rituals

Manggarai ethnic has some tradition ritual series ceremonies. It is intended as the Thanksgiving of life during a certain period of times.

There are some traditional rituals which common celebrate in Manggarai ethnic, such as Penti, Caci, and many more. The biggest event on the Mangarai tradition is Penti and the most popular traditional dance is Caci.

The strong characteristic of the tradition of Manggarai people could find on every island they live in. They are most show up their tradition in every place they live, such as in Java, especially in Jakarta.

What is Penti?

Penti is a traditional ceremony of Manggarai ethnic which has noble meaning. Penti intended as a thanksgiving to God and the Ancestors for the harvest of the year they have.

The ceremony is also mean to gather the families of the village and the ones who have lives outside. In the other hand, Peniti is also intended to build a strong relationship with each person in the family. They are praying together, celebrate and asking for peace between the families and villagers.

There are some kinds of rituals during the Penti Ceremony:

  • Barong Lodok is a ritual that invites the guardian spirit to the center of Lingko (the center of the farm).
  • Barong Compang is intended to invite the ancestor spirit (Empo) to take part in Penti ceremony at the night.
  • Barong Wae means a ritual to remember the place where the ancestors were taking bath or shower. Invite the spirit of Empo (ancestors) to have a shower. And let them remember that this is the river where they were having a shower.
  • Barong Boa means a ritual to visit Graveyard, praying and invite the Empo (ancestors) or who have died. 
  • Libur Kilo is the reunion rituals for a family, Thanksgiving.
  • Wisi Loce is a ritual stretches the mat for the spirit of ancestors (Empo). Let them have a rest before going to the main Penti ceremony.

What is Caci?

Caci is the Manggarai ethnic traditional whip fighting. Caci normally comes together with the Penti rituals. This is a very sacral event for Manggarai ethnic. Caci also performs in some ceremonial, such as Wedding, greeting the Government Official.

Caci performs by groups of man from a different village. Each man fight versus one man from the other opponent. You may join our Caci Whip Fighting Tour to see more details.

Equipment used in Caci dance and whip fighting:

  1. Larik is dry buffalo leather strap with the length around 50cm. It is tied well with the rattan stick about 50cm as well.
  2. Panggal is a head protector which shape like buffalo horn.
  3. Nggiling or Toda is a shield to protect against the opponent attack. It is made from dry buffalo skin with the diameter 2 x 50cm. It is a circle and there is wood in the middle to hold.
  4. Koret is also a piece of counter-attack equipment, curved and a length of 3 meters. It is made from dry rattan.
  5. Nggorong is bells which put in the waist and it makes a sound accompaniment to the dancer.

A man who joined this Caci fighting must be dressed in a traditional costume, such as the following:

  • Towe Congke (traditional material).
  • White long pant.
  • Sapu Tangan (handkerchief).
  • Selendang (shawl).

There are still many traditions in Manggarai. It needs more times to see and find out the history.

Mbaru Adat Manggarai/Traditional Houses

The traditional houses of Manggarai are well known as Mbaru Gendang/Mbaru Niang. It has speared everywhere in Manggarai.

Mbaru Gendang use as the sacred rituals meeting such as Penti ceremonial, wedding rituals and many more.

The Manggarai traditional houses are made from the following materials:

  • Haju is wooded for Tiang(pylon) and wall.
  • Wunut is palm fiber for the roof.
  • Rangga Kaba is buffalo horn. It is a symbol of strength which located on the top roof of Mbaru.

There are some villages which are still kept original the traditional houses of Manggarai:

  1. Mbaru adat Ruteng Pu'u/ Ruteng Pu'u traditional houses
  2. Bangka Tuke traditional houses
  3. Maru Adat Todo/ Todo traditional houses.
  4. Wae Rebo traditional houses.
People & Culture