Caci Dance, An Event to Prove Manggarai Male Virility

Considered as a vital cultural asset and one of the distinctive cultural performances, the existence of traditional dances must be maintained, because it is considered to have a charm that is able to satisfy the desire of mankind today, to return to watch old habits in this modern era.

Talking about traditional dances, in the western part of the island of Flores there is a dance that is so legendary, comes from the culture of the Manggarai Tribe.

It is the Caci Dance. The dance performed by a pair of men, is very interesting to see and examine its history.

Short History of Caci Dance

According to existing historical sources, this Caci Dance came from the tradition of the Manggarai people, where men fight one by one to test their courage and agility in fighting. This dance then develops into an art, where there are dance moves, songs and accompanying music to enliven the event.

Caci Dance

Etymologically, the Caci Dance came from two words, namely ‘ca’ which means one and ‘ci’ which means test. So literally, Caci can be interpreted as a one by one test between a pair of male dancers. Wowww!

The Rules in Caci Dance

Just like other dances, the Caci Dance also has rules or procedures in its performance.

Caci is held in the yard of the host group’s traditional house (ata one) by inviting a group from other villages (ata pe’ang or meka landang) as challengers.

The two male dancers fight in the form of a dance using an whip (larik) and shield (nggiling), accompanied by traditional music from gongs (nggong) and drums (gendang), as well as singing (nenggo or dere) of the supporters.

The two dancers will change roles, as the attacker and the defender. The attacker will use whip (larik), while the the defender will use shield (nggiling).

Not only dance and hit the opposing party using whip that the Caci dancers do, but they also make poem and shout their nickname (paci) and then sing.

The parts of body that were the target of the whip are head to stomach. Meanwhile, the parts of body like the waist, thighs to feet which are covered with clothes are not the target of the whip in this dance.

If the punches of the opponent can be parried, it means that the whip has not hit the body. Meanwhile, the body will be lashed and suffer wounds if it cannot parry the opponent’s whip.

To determine wins and loses in this dance is when the whip hits the eye. If that happens, the player is immediately declared defeated (beke), and the two players are immediately replaced.

Caci Dance Attributes

The attributes used by dancers in performing this dance are as follows:

The player does not wear a shirt and wears long white cloth pants with a traditional woven cloth (songke) to the knee. Equipped with a whip (larik), shield (nggiling), deterrent (agang), in dancer’s hand and head cover (panggal). At the rear waist, there are strings of bells (nggorong) that sound following the player’s movements.

The mask or headdress (panggal) is made of hard buffalo skin covered with colorful fabrics. This headdress shaped like a buffalo horn is used to protect the face from the whip. The face is covered with a headband so that the eyes can still see the direction of the opponent’s movements and punches.

In addtion, the Caci Dance is also an event to prove how strong a Manggarai man is. Wounds from lashes were trusted as a symbol of masculinity. Wowww cool!

So, if you are on Flores Island, watching Caci is something you must do. Don’t miss this particular cultural specialty. Happy enjoy the Caci Dance, hopefully it entertains you.

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