Manggarai

The Manggarai (Ata Manggarai) are an ethnic group located on the western end of the island of Flores, Indonesia. In 1981 their population was estimated at 400,000. Makassar and Bimanese have lived among the Manggarai for some time. Traditional villages were circular and enclosed, with a central square and ceremonial house. The Manggarai are swidden agriculturalists, growing maize and rice as their principal crops. Manggarai territory is divided into a number of dalu, small principalities that are further subdivided into glarang. The glarang are the basic landowning units and are essentially large patrilineages. Manggarai society is stratified into three classes: the dominant dalu and glarang lineages, commoners, and slaves. Although slavery no longer exists, descent from slaves remains a sign of lower status. The Manggarai are divided along religious lines, most in the west being Muslim, most in the east Roman Catholic, and those in the center still adhering to traditional beliefs. Traditional beliefs center on ancestor spirits and a supreme being called Mori Karaeng. Ata mbeko are the religious specialists. Having achieved this role through an apprenticeship, they conduct ceremonies, predict the future, and cure disease.


Bibliography

Koentjaraningrat (1972). "Manggarai." In Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia, edited by Frank M. LeBar. Vol. 1, Indonesia, Andaman Islands, and Madagascar, 81-83. New Haven: HRAF Press.

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