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Various Kinds of The Local Tradition part 1

Local Traditions don't come along out of nowhere. There must be a reason for their existence, whether logical or illogical. Now is the time to explore the origin of some of our great national costums.

Stone Jumping
The warring villages in Nias used to fortify themselves with two meter high bamboo fences. Each village encouraged their youths to jump over a two meter high big stone structure as a practice to attack other villages. Being able to jump over the megalithic structure also attests to the bravery and manhood of a young man.


Baku Pukul Manyapu
This is a tradition from the villages of Mamala and Morela in Ambon. Seven days after Idul Fitri, youths from neighboring villages whip each other with brooms made from sago ribs in front of the Mamala and Morela Mosques. They lash each other until their bodies are bruised and cut open. But the most fascinating aspect of this seemingly barbaric spectacle is that all the wounds won't leave a single scar on the skin. A special ointment (minyak Mamala) is smeared on the wounds to heal them. In a couple of days, the wounds perfectly heal. While many tourists who watch the ritual think that the attraction only shows the amazing nature of the ointment, the locals think that the whole ritual has a patriotic and religious significance. It signifies the struggle of native heroes who defended the Kapahaha fort from the Dutch. It also represents a local story about a man who had an insight through a dream into solving the construction problem in a mosque. A beam had broken in the mosque. From his dream, the man learned how to restore the beam by smearing an ointment made from coconut and spices. As it worked for the broken beam, the ointment was then also used for wounded men.

Saucer Dance
Many of us know that traditional performances in Minangkabau have been greatly influenced by Islam. Well, not all of them. The Saucer dance or Tari Piring is a pre-Islamic tradition that pays homage to Dewi Sri (the rice goddess) and expresses gratitude for an abundant harvest. Some of the movements in the dance  symbolize the farmers daily activities like tilling the land, weeding and harvesting.