If you love hiking and adventure, and experience a true ancient traditional ceremony, then head to the old village of Wae Rebo in the beautiful highlands of Flores, with nearest town of Ruteng in the district of Manggarai in East Nusatenggara.
On 15th and 16th November the village will stage the Penti Ritual Ceremony which will take place for one whole day and one night.
Penti is an obligatory festival to give thanks to God for the bountiful harvest provided in the past year and pray for health and prosperity in the coming year. To its inhabitants, Penti is a most important ceremony especially to strengthen communal unity.
Starting at 06.0 am, the ceremony is centered in 3 places. The first one takes place at the springs, denoting the beginning of life. The ceremony then moves to the front porch of the village, where prayers are given for women whose husbands live outside the village; and the last one in the back yard, where the community prays for health and prosperity for the village and all its inhabitants.
The peak of the ceremony is the sacrifice of two pigs. From its blood, people believe that the high priest can read the future.
At the end of the entire ceremony, people return to the main court yard, called the compang, where two men will show their skills in the thrilling caci fight. Villagers believe that one or both must be wounded since blood that falls on the earth will bring fertility.
The Penti ceremony is participated not only by its own villagers, but also by neighboring villagers and those from the village who already reside outside to find work.
Wae Rebo is a quite isolated village surrounded by a stunning landscape, renowned for its unique cone-shaped thatch houses called: mbaru niang. Today these are still in use for meetings, rituals and Sunday-morning prayers.
To get there:
Wae Rebo can be reached by car from Labuan Bajo or Ruteng. But since there are no paved roads to Wae Rebo, you must trek for around three hours to finally reach the village.
Since there is also very limited accommodation there, you should book early . For information and guides you can call Mr. Martin Anggo at +6285239344046. There are a number of operators in Bali that do regular tours to Flores, one of which is Mr. Leonardus Nyoman at +628123662110 or log on to: www.foresexotictours.com.
For detailed information on the event and its in-depth background, click: http://www.florestourism.com/events/penti-ceremony-wae-rebo.