Posted by indonesiaculture | 10/21/2009 06:22:00 PM | | 0 comments »

In Java, it is common to eat eel as other foods. But in Wolotolo village, it is taboo to eat eel. Why ? because they believe that eel is their ancestor. If they eat eel; intentinal or not; they will get a curse which usually in pain, accident or other sufferings.

Where is Wolotolo ? Wolotolo village is located in Ende district, Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara province. Wolotolo village is 20 km from Ende city, can be reached through road Ende – Maumere.

The sacred eel (belut sakti) can be shown in Lowomamo river in Ae Kewu, Central Wolotolo. To see this scared eel, you need a special skill person who called as pawang. You also need a chicken to be cut, and then its blood will be used to invite the sacred eel come out. If you are sick, you shall cut a chicken with red feather and special ritual.

After the blood is splashed into river, the pawing will call the sacred eel with this magic formula “Mai mamo……, mai mamo…..!” And then the chicken will be cut to be small portion then provided to the sacred eel using wood stick. The sacred eel doesn’t always come out even though you have given them a chicken. If the sacred eel doesn’t come out, it means you are not fortune. In other cases, the sacred eel some time come out is one only, some time two, some time in red color, some time in black color depend on your fortune. If there are 2 eels coming out, it means you will get a big fortune.

A myth about the sacred eel as ancestor can be described as follows. Sare Ngole is a father of Wolotolo society. In the past Sare Ngole got a skin pain. The Lio people called it as una or getting two skins. Due to shame, Sare Ngole went out from Detuwira village to Sikka. In Sikka, Sare Ngole perform meditation in the cave. From his meditation he got a gold necklace called londa. The scared necklace then he stored in the container in his village.

On a day, the sacred necklace shouted because it felt very hot, and he ask Sare Ngole to put it into the water. Sare Ngole then put it into Lowomamo river, previously he put a bamboo stick as a sign.

On the next day, Sare Ngole back to the river to take the sacred necklace. But, the sacred necklace never is found. Sare Ngole even found the eel as substation of the sacred necklace.

Based on above myth, until now the people of Wolotolo village arrange ritual regularly to give the sacred eel food.

Reference: KOMPAS daily edition 14 April 2007 page 39, written by Samuel Oktora.
(Osa Kurniawan Ilham, Balikpapan-Borneo