Riung at a glance
Riung is located on the island of Flores - Indonesia. It is part of Ngada Regency. Riung is accessible both by land and water transport. The distance from Bajawa is approximately 72 km. There are regular bus servicing Ende - Riung route, it takes about 3 - 4 hrs driving.
Riung once associated with black magic and superstitious power. The image is not totally wrong, as there are some people in Riung who have the power to make bad things to others. People of Ngadha ethnic noticed that “Orang Riung” or Riung People have “Rewos” and they are afraid of it. Actually “Rewos” itself means medicine. Riung people in old days believe that the sickness is caused by bad spirit, which can only be cured under the help of the “Ata Mbeko Sando”. Ata Mbeko or Sando has the power to recognize where the sick person get his or her sickness from. Nitu might cause it at the spring where she or he collects the drinking water.
Once the cause is known, then the offerings have to be made at the spring. And normally “Ata Mbeko or Sando” gives some medical treatment together with some praying which is of course not the normal praying like those from modern religions. The common practice is to spat (mburang or ngiso) the juice of “sirih (betel) and pinang (areca)” onto the forehead of the patient. The “Ata Sando” first chews the betel and areca nut together with the powder of coral or limestone, say some praying, massaging the head and then spat the juice. If needed some herbal “rewos” will be given.
Riung nowadays known because of its small islands off shore with beautiful under water life together with white sandy beaches and fruit eating bats. Riung itself actually consists of many sub ethnics who speak different dialects. It has varied of cultural heritages too. There are many different kinds of folk dances and traditional games.
Riung people socially devote to patrilineal system which all starts from the marriage arrangements. To marry a woman, people in Riung have to give dowry. The dowry system in Riung is a reciprocal one. None return home empty-handed. The size of the bride prize is determined through “talking” which cannot be translated as negotiation. “Talking” is very important in Riung, then there is saying: “mata bo ngampong” literarily translated as “dead by talking” actually it means there is always solution if people sit and talk. Once the bride prize is agreed then the bridegroom family will bring things as agreed on the certain day before wedding.
The bride prize normally comes in form of Buffaloes, horses, goat and other items. In return they will get pig, sarongs etc. If the bridegroom family could not bring the bride prize at once, then they can bring it in later time according to the agreement of both parties. People nowadays prefer not to bring the bride price at once as to maintain the family bond. There are two ways to settle the bride prize; they are “salang tuak” and “salang wae”. Salang tuak or “Palm wine way” means that the bride prize will be settled at once before marriage. While Salang Wae or “water way” if bride prize will be settled at any time after the marriage.
The main aim of paying bride price in Riung is mainly to cut the rights and obligations of the bride at her family of origin (parents). Once the bride prize is settled she has no rights to share the inheritance of her parents. Then she has no “adat” obligation to be fulfilled at her family of origin. She now becomes the full member of her husband’s family.
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