Financial burdens

Life is hard when you live with very low income, have to feed your family and on top of that spend a lot of money on ceremonies. Ceremonies are an important part of life on Flores, in all districts, communities and clans. It is Adat, traditional custom. One example are the five ceremonies related to marriage in a large part of Manggarai. At five different occasions family members contribute to the couple or to the wife’s family. It starts with Tukar Kila, a pre-matrimonial ceremonie, followed by Banaring Lembak, then Kempu, followed by the actual wedding itself and then Wagal. For the Wagal ceremony all relatives of the husband’s side gather money to bring the the father of the wife, who in turn divides it between his family members. At a typical Wagal ceremony average Rp. 30.000.000 might be given.

The cost of these five ceremonies can amount to Rp. 1.300.000 per family. So in case you for example have five siblings who all get married you need to contribute almost Rp. 6.700.000 over time.

My friend Anis’s family just did Wagal. His family collected the money and brought it to his wife Novi’s family. Then they had a super surprise: Novi’s dad bought them a brand new motor and now it is much more easy for them to visit the family.

anis and motor

Besides that there are lots of other ceremonies, which also cost. There are ceremonies for births, funerals, harvest, periodical small or big community ceremonies, Holy Communion, the finishing of a house.

One challenge is the fact that most families do not have a bank account and are not familiar with the concept of saving. It is difficult to save when you earn very little money to begin with.

In case you are invited to attend a ceremony it is therefor highly appreciated if you contribute some too. It is up to you how much you like to give. I would contribute Rp. 100.000 to 200.000, it also depends on your relationship with the family. It is polite to give the money in an envelop.