Reis (Traditional Welcoming ceremony)


When you come to Liang ndara or Nunang in West Manggarai, Flores, don’t be surprised if your host suddenly greeted you with their local language and give you some money, palm wine, and betelnut. It is part of the welcoming tradition in those villages. Important guests such as government officials or pastor will be greeted in an even bigger welcoming ceremony called Reis. Reis literally means greeting. When the Reis ceremony is held, the villagers will gather at the village gate—known as bok, wearing the traditional songket cloth, white shirt, and the woven pandanus hat, rea. The Reis procession will take place with the following order:

  1. A representative of the villagers (usually one of the elders) will first great the guest in Manggaraian language then will give a certain amount of money as a symbol of appreciation for the guest who has come to their village.
  2. The elder will then give another short welcome greeting and money as a symbol that the guest may take a rest (caca). At the same time, the villager will offer local palm wine which is carried in a container called bongko. It is not obligatory for the guest to taste the wine served. After that, the guest will be presented with a chicken (usually white cock) which symbolize pure intention. It is up to the guest whether he/she will take the chicken or the villagers shall cook it and eat it together.
  3. The guest will then be introduced to the village’s cultures/attractions and to enjoy their time.
  4. A representative of the ladies will bring betelnut as well as areca nut as a symbol of hospitality and that the guest is no longer a stranger. It is also not obligatory to chew the betel and areca nuts.