The village of Sikka (natar means ‘village’ in the local language), with its pleasant sea view on the south coast, is one of the first places of Portuguese influence and Catholic missionary activity in Flores. Therefore this is a place to take a leap into the past and learn about Sikkanese history, such as the colonial era.
The former center of the Kingdom of Sikka features a big church, which was built with the support of Jesuit priests in 1899. Its inside walls are nicely decorated with local ikat motifs. During the rule of the Sikkanese royal palace, the church was not only a place to hold Holy Communion, but was also used for the inauguration of new kings.
If by any chance you happen to be in Sikka Village at Christmas, you may witness a lasting example of Portuguese influence in the church: Toja Bobu, a dance-drama which was brought to Sikka by the Portuguese, and that is traditionally performed on the 26th of December. In brief, the story is about a beautiful, young princess being courted by many men with all kinds of occupational backgrounds who all eagerly want to marry her. For the luxury loving, spoiled princess, however, these wooers are not wealthy enough; so she finally marries a rich nobleman. Unfortunately, the performances are rarely held nowadays. The Sikkanese Sanggar Gere Bue, a cultural workshop group, tries to fight the loss of this old cultural tradition by reviving Toja Bobu and interpreting the performance in a modern way, without losing its originality.
Sikka Village has been, and still is, one of East Flores’ most important and famous weaving centers. Be prepared to be beleaguered by women who, of course, would like you to acquire a piece of their artwork. As in other villages, visitors to Sikka also have the opportunity to see – by pre-arrangement and for a fee – the complete steps of ikat-weaving, including the dyeing of the threads with natural colors.Text: www.florestourism.com
Photography: Leonardus Nyoman