Indonesia as an archipelago is divided into many races and ethnicities. Each one of them has its own culture, and they are all very unique to discover. Flores, as one of the main tourist destinations in the country especially with Komodo liveaboard also offers an amazing traditional culture. One of the most popular is the Caci dance, a unique war dance originated from the Manggarai tribe.
Komodo Liveaboard Cultural Trip
Besides being introduced to many wonders on the seas, Komodo liveaboard also takes you to visit some of the historical and cultural places in Komodo and Flores. So if you are interested in Indonesian rich cultures, there will be even more reasons for you to join the liveaboard trip. Caci dance is one of the most unique local cultures that you can find around Flores. You can find this custom in the West Manggarai district, on the Ruteng for example.
The Caci Dance
Caci is a war dance. The name comes from the word “ca” meaning “one”, and “ci” meaning “test”, so the whole meaning is a one versus one test to prove who is the best. It is performed by two men, wearing white trousers with traditional Manggarai songket complete with knee and shin guards while leaving the torso open. Each one of them is also armed with a whip and a shield, and a helmet made from buffalo hides to attack and defend.
The dance begins when the music starts playing. Each dancer will take turns hitting the others, the whip is used to attack and the shield to block. The dancer has to avoid or block the opponent’s attack to prevent injuries, as they can bleed from the hit of the whip. Only the upper torso and head are allowed to target, the winner is determined when one dancer manages to hit his opponents on the face or head.
Throughout the dance, the music keeps playing while the spectators will yell and support each dancer. The music consists of instruments like gongs and drums, as well as singing from a group of women. Just like sports, the spectators are divided to be the supporters for each dancer.
The origin of this dance came from an old tradition of Manggarai where two men will fight to test their courage and dexterity in a fight. After a while, the fight is getting choreographed and music is added to make it more artistic. This dance is usually performed to celebrate an event, such as harvest season, weddings or any ceremonies.
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See the Dance Yourself!
Lastly, the dance may look like it supports violence, but the truth is they just wanted to show sportsmanship and an honorable clash between two powers. No serious injury ever happened on this dance, and it’s always followed with a feast. Interested to see yourself? You can go to the Flores by yourself or join a Komodo liveaboard.