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THE PORA'A BINANGGA RITUAL, A REMINISCENCE OF NATURE

People often forget their instinctive need to live harmoniously with nature. Especially those who live in cities. They tend to ignore and be insensitive to signals from a damaged envorinment.

That is not an option for the Kaili Tara people of Central Sulawesi. When nature is no longer friendly, as drought, lack of water for the ricefields, and failed harvests happen, they see it as a warning about human failure to live harmoniously with nature. They might have dumped too much waste into the rivers or forgot to state their gratitude for a bountiful harvest.

When those signs occur, it is time for the Kaili Tara elders to cleanse their village with the Pora’a Binangga ritual as a reminder to take care of their surroundings and ask for prosperity. The ritual involves the sacrifice of a male goat and a rooster.

First, the gimba is beaten to summon ancestor spirits. The chicken is then ritually slaughtered near the river. When the chicken’s blood touches the goat, the goat is slaughtered too. The Kaili Tara people believe that blood from these animals would ritually cleanse their village. Throughout the procession, the gimba continues its rhythm. The drum beats are to evoke people’s spirits and thunder in the sky.

It is said that after the animals are slaughtered and blood flows into the river, thunder and lightning would start upstream, as a harbinger of rain. As a form of gratitude, the people would then eat the sacrificial lamb after it has been cooked into Kaili Tara dishes.

There are certain ritual rules for cooking the sacrificial lamb: it is not to be skinned. The lamb is roasted until its fur gets singed, and then cleaned.

Pora’a Binangga continues with the ritual bathing of a cultural heir using water filtered though a piece of white cloth. The white cloth is spread overhead and water is passed through it right onto the top of the head.

During the ritual bath, elders are engaged in a spiritual conversation with ancestors from the four corners of Palu, the patanggota, to inform them of the heir’s wish that people should prosper.

The spirit of collaboration and togetherness, sintuvu, is an integral element of the Pora’a Binanga ritual. People contributed sugar, rice, and other things needed for the ritual.

The Pora’a Binangga ritual will be held at Uventumbu Natural Resort in Kawatuna Subdistrict, Mantikulore, Palu. Besides being a reminiscent of nature and plea for abundant harvest, the ritual would serve as an opening ceremony for the Palu Salonde Percussion Festival. Source: Katalog Palu Nomoni, Meretas Mimpi Melintas Negeri Tahun 2016.

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