Saga village is one of the traditional villages in Detusoko, Ende district. Saga’s community themselves is a part of Lio tribes which also inhabit the village of Moni, near Kelimutu tricolored lake. Saga is an indigenous village that is not yet as well-known as other indigenous villages in Flores, such as; Bena Village or Wae Rebo.
Saga’s villagers usually celebrated rituals of Nggua Saga, an annual ceremony is held for two weeks every September. This ritual is actually a thanksgiving for the abundance of harvest which is held to shows gratitude to the God Almighty for good harvesting that also means achieving success in life.
For Lio tribe, Nggua is a tradition that already has been passed down to generations from their ancestors. Nggua is Lio’s life guides and community’s way of life that includes commands to fulfill and restrictions that must be obey. Lio tribe in Saga Village is still cling to Nggua in their lives. In context of society with a strong culture of agriculture, they are still practicing the series of rituals and culture in everyday life since the start of the first spade of the farm until after harvest time.
Ritual has started since the blessing of Du’a Ngga’e Supreme Being and the universe as well as the ancestors of the earth or land to be tilled. During the process of land management to harvesting of mother earth there is an intense communication done between man and the Supreme Being. Relationships and communication are expressed through various forms of ritual “Nggua” become part of a system of social and religious life of the ethnic communities in Lio Saga.
In the end, after each harvest season, Saga communities hold celebrations of thanksgiving for the harvest that has been gained from the earth with a series of ritual “Nggua” that lasted for two weeks. During Nggua activities of all members living outside indigenous communities Saga have to come home to the village to celebrate.
Nggua began with a ceremony Teo Nggo (The hanging gong) a symbol by Mosa Laki Ria Bewa for all the villagers about the resumption of thanks giving ritual sequencea, prohibition and taboo during that period like such as not eating potatoes and nut, do not burn the field and does not injure the land again. Followed by the ritual pounding rice (Dhu Are) sequentially from the first harvest by Mosa Laki Ria bewa (wolo and limbu), followed by the general public.
A further ritual ceremonies deliver rice (Tu Are Dhu) by male rulers customary rights to his sister, who by the obligation patriarchate has moved into other communities. Are Dhu Tu ritual reminiscent of a tangle of kinship and blood were never separated by anything.
Besides preparing the rice, other ingredients for the dishes of other offerings need to be collected. All offerings must be taken out of their own farm and not purchased in the market. Pigs and roosters to slaughtered, coconut, drink wine selection and long bean leaf vegetables (Uta Bue) need to be prepared.
Making bean leaf length of the field should be carried out without being seen by anyone and if there were involuntarily bumped should not be spoken. Each violation of the prohibitions and taboos in Nggua will be fined for an additional ritual for the sake of restoration.
After all offerings prepared, then the ritual begins. During the process of cooking the dishes, all residents of the village have to stay awake and alert and place the ceremonial offerings in the custom house; at the entrance and the middle of the village. Ritual offerings marred by a number of spells as an expression of gratitude for the gift from the mother earth and the hopes to having another abundance harvest in the next season. Villagers were forbidden to eat anything before giving offerings to the Supreme Being and the Ancestors.
After the offering ritual, Mosa Laki will eat rice first and gratefully followed by all villagers then continued by performing traditional dances tandak (Gawi) all night until the next day. For Lio tribe in Saga village, the perfection and thoroughness Nggua made in complying with every taboos in ritual became the base for believing its future success.
Article by Andreas Dhena, photo by Florestourism.com, Mr. Nosen
Resource: Mr. Maxi, Mosa Laki of Saga Village