Traditional Boxing of Ngada and Nagekeo

Traditional Boxing of Ngada and Nagekeo

Traditional Boxing or locally known as Etu or Sagi is one of the most famed cultural festivals of the Ngada and Nagekeo district. If you’re in Flores in the months of April through July, then take a visit to the Soa or Tadho Village to view this fascinating local tradition.

In the past, this activity was a form of exercise for the warriors, and today it is a celebration of thanksgiving and hopes for good harvests. It is also symbolic of good communication, friendship and kinship among villagers. In traditional boxing, there are no winners or losers and members of the same family are not allowed to fight. 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.

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.

Photo courtesy: Flores Tourism

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