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Home » Upbeat Manado » Maengket: the happy Traditional Minahasan Song and Dance

Maengket: the happy Traditional Minahasan Song and Dance

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The many traditional dances seen around Indonesia are not only a means of entertainment or form part of rituals, but they also reflect the uniqueness specific to each ethnic group and local culture of this vast country. There are hundreds of ethnic groups inhabiting the archipelago and each has a distinctive dance. One of these is the Maengket Dance from North Sulawesi. This combination of dance and traditional songs is not only part of their tradition but also offers a peek into the history and identity of the Minahasan people as expression of thanksgiving for a plentiful harvest.

Maengket is a blend of dance, music and song, as well as literary art entwined within the lyrics of the songs performed. The music, which is composed specifically to accompany this dance, is called “Maengketen.”The word “Maengket” is derived from the root word “engket” with the prefix “ma”. The prefix “ma” means doing, and “engket” means lifting the heel up and down in time to the music.

The Maengket usually begins with one singer and is then followed by others. This dance is usually performed by 20 to 30 people, consisting of men and women who form pairs along with one single woman who acts as guide. The costumes worn are usually brightly colored such as red, pink, blue, yellow, green and white, with red headbands for male dancers. This dance is dynamic, energetic, and relatively free of rules. You will be captivated by the fast-paced original motions and the bright colors of the sweeping traditional garb.

The Maengket dance performances are divided into three sections: firstly, the Maengket Makamberu which is performed as a thanksgiving to God for the success of their harvest. In times past, the cultivation of the fields would take a long time so by the time harvest comes around the farmers would be happy and expressed this in song and dance. The second is the Maengket Rumamba, which is a dance based on the spirit of mutual cooperation in which all citizens help each other in doing rural activities together such as building a house. Once completed, the landlord will then invite the villagers into the house as a token of thanks and gratitude. Third is the Maengket Lelaya'an, a dance that symbolizes the youth of Minahasa. In the past, when looking for a mate and upon finding one, they would express their heart's content through song and dance.

The Maengket Dance is said to have been part of the Minahasan tradition since the beginning of agriculture here.  This traditional folk dance used to be performed only at harvest time with simple movements and only for specific ceremonies such as the Makamberu, Metabak, Masambo, Melaya and Meraba. But now the dance moves are more varied and are often showcased for entertainment or for welcoming guests. The Maengket Dance was performaed at the "World Ocean Conference (WOC)" held in Manado in 2009.

One location for visitors to witness theMaengket Dance is at the village of Ranowangko, in the Kombi district, in the Minahasa regency of North Sulawesi. Some of the most popular dances performed here are the Maengket Mandolang and the Maengket Pinkan.


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Maengket: the happy Traditional Minahasan Song and Dance

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