Ngada and Nagekeo is one of the oldest regencies in Flores. Formed in 1958, it was later split into two in 2007, forming the Nagekeo regency. There are a few megalithic sites in this region, which are tentatively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The capital city of Ngada and Nagekeo is Bajawa, with a total population of about 44,000. Bajawa is also home to some natural hot springs that are suitable for bathing and breathtaking views of the valley and the Inierie Volcano. Bajawa has two minor airports that connect it to the rest of the island; the Bajawa Soa Airport and the Bajawa Pahdamaleda Airport.
Here in these districts you’ll find eye-catching ancestral shrines, impressive megalithic formations and rich ceremonies which are all integral part of the societies that live in these two districts. There are rituals and
ceremonies for almost every important occasion, which visitors are most welcomed to attend and witness.
The Ngada people hold annually the Reba festival, a harvest ceremony to close the annual cycle and mark the beginning of the new year. The ceremony typically takes place in December in Bena village before moving on to surrounding communities before ending in February, lasting for several days in each village with music, dance and rituals. In the past, the Ngada people would predict the future during these ceremonies by reading the intestines of sacrificed animals, however today they start the Reba festival with a holy Catholic mass instead. A cheerful social event, people will usually return to their families during Reba festival to celebrate.
Traditional boxing or “tinju adat” are usually held in the dry season in many parts of Ngada and Nagakeo. Instead of gloves, fighters wear woven palm leaves as boxing gloves, sometimes with bits of broken glass attached. Each boxer has his own coach who directs him on his next actions during the fight. Not typically called “boxing” in these regions, this sport is called a different name in every region; Etu in Boawae, Sagi in Soa, or Mbela in Riung.
Bena and Wogo
Bena is the most visited village in this district; some might even call it the “signboard of Ngada culture”. Located 16km outside of Bajawa, the village is home to impressive stone formations, ancestral shrines and traditional houses. In the centre of the village are the Nghadu and Bhaga shrines representing ach clan of the village and the clan’s ancestors. The houses in Bena are decorated with skulls and horns of water buffaloes and pig jaws, all sacrificed at different ceremonies and stored to remember the past feasts. Meanwhile, Wogo is also a traditional Ngada village with all the richness of the Ngada culture. There are no weaving in Wogo like there are in Bena, with the women focusing more on basket weaving and the men on blacksmithing.