Culture

Due to Flores’s vast land size, history and heritage as well as a number of other factors, it would be simply impossible to streamline the island’s rich traditions and diversity into just one culture. Every part of Flores has its own ethnicity, origins, beliefs and social structures that over hundreds of years had barely changed. An important impact on today’s culture was made by the Dutch during the colonial time where they divided Flores into five major districts Manggarai, Ngada, Ende, Sikka and East Timur. Fortunately, this did not impact the everyday lifestyles of the many tribes spread over the island.

The Manggarai people live in the western part of the island and most of them are Catholic, however, traditional beliefs are widely practiced. Manggaraian rituals and fighting arts are famous in the district and the people can be recognized by their distinctive traditional clothing. The Ngada people who inhabit the Southern part of the island, claimed to have migrated from Java, and are known to be great hunters. Today the Ngada people also grow rice and corn in the special way learned from the Dutch. For a long time the district of (Lio-)Ende was a kingdom. Nowadays the district is an important asset for the island as they have a hospital and universities. Many years ago the people of Sikka formed their own distinct group but as the Portuguese handed over the part of the island to the Dutch, the group mixed with other ethnicities.

In addition an important cultural border is the religion border. While most of Indonesia is Muslim, the majority of the people from Flores are Christian. On the island, several churches can be found and while in other parts of Indonesia coexistence may be difficult, in Flores this is not the case.

Photo courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sika_people#/media/File:COLLECTIE_TROPENMUSEUM_Radja_Don_Josephus_da_Silva_van_Sika_met_zijn_vrouw_TMnr_10001754.jpg

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