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TOPI RAJONG AND SUFI

VOI INDONESIAN WONDER, 11.04.2017

Community of East Manggarai district, East Nusa Tenggara still maintain their local knowledge until now. For instance, the people in Runus and Rajong villages who still hold a traditional ritual called Soso Uwi ritual. Soso Uwi is an annual thanksgiving ritual after the harvest of farm products. Soso means clean while Uwi means round yam. So, Soso Uwi  is the ritual of cleaning yam at the boundary of year by marking with a celebration to honor the universe that already provide abundant blessings for the survival of people in Rajong region. Soso Uwi ritual is always held in September annually, by farmers in South Elar subdistrict.

There is something interesting in Soso Uwi ritual. In the ritual, leader of custom and adults in Rajong always wear Rombeng Rajong to honor the ancestors of Rajong Village. Rombeng Rajong is a special hat worn by traditional leaders in Rumah Gendang or the drum home in the village. When Soso Uwi   ritual is held in Rumah Gendang in Rajong village, indigenous elders in the village actually wear Sufi. Sufi is  a spherical Rajong hat. Sufi is used specifically by the elders of the village. Adults and young men are forbidden to wear the Sufi.

Young people, adults are also parents are allowed to wear Rombeng Rajong with star image. The hat has dye and rectangular or oval types. The specificity of the hat lies on the edge part with star ornaments. Unlike Rajong hat, Sufi is a sacred hat which is only used by traditional authorities and indigenous elders in the village. The hat also has a function as a form of respect to the ancestors who had to pass the hat for generations. Unlike Rombeng Rajong, Sufi hat is not sold freely. More over, every guests who visited Rajong village are usually given the Rombeng Rajong with stars as a tribute to the guests.

Basic ingredient in making Rombeng Rajong and Sufi is derived from fine bamboo. The local language is Nghelung and Pering. To make the hat, bamboo is woven, coupled with a string, in the local language called Werek, then sliced into smallest part. Then the slices of bamboo embroidered with tiller rope, in the local language called aur. The making process is quite long to produce  Rombeng Rajong and Sufi. Rombeng Rajong is usually given black and red color, depends on its natural dyes. The coloring process of Rombeng Rajong by using Sorghum leather. Sorghum leather is boiled, then Rombeng Rajong which already woven is dipped in the sorghum. Therefore, the color will change depends on the color of sorghum. For those who interested to buy Rombeng Rajong as a souvenir, can buy it with the prices ranging from Rp 300,000 to Rp 600,000. The price is quite expensive, because of a rigorous process and the natural ingredients taken directly from the forest.

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