The uniqueness of Maluku islands – East Indonesia

The Maluku Islands stretch from the Island of Halmahera in the north to the south of the Far East. Maluku is a region which is blessed not only because of the wealth of beautiful natural but also the Maluku (Moluccas) had always been known with honest and courageous character people.

There are many customs, arts and culture of Maluku, which is not known by many people. One of the traditional events that has been made are “PUKUL SAPU LIDI”, (Beaten by Broom stick),  implemented by the King of Mamala in Ambon – Maluku, where the event is held in every 7 (seven) days after the Day of the Great Islamic “Eid”.


Beaten by broom sticksFOTO ANTARA/Jimmy Ayal/ed/09.
Beaten by broom sticks
FOTO ANTARA/Jimmy Ayal/ed/09.


This ceremony includes the extreme events. In this ceremony, each participant will be whipping up the other participants alternately using sticks (Lidi) from palm tree, that has a length 1, 52 meters, on one condition that it should not be hit into the face or a vital part of the opponent.

The whole body of participants are bruised and bleed, but they do not look in pain. Whip injuries can even be cured quickly by using traditional ingredients made ??with coconut oil so it dries quickly and the wound healed.


Playing beaten
Playing beaten broom


This event has been running since a few hundred years ago in this area, so that almost all the people around the island of Ambon and foreign travelers who know the tradition are definitely attend the event and watch this show.


Attractions of broom stick beaten


Besides the tradition of the broom, there is another tradition that is often called “BAMBO GILA” (Crazy Bamboo), which is known by the people of Maluku and other parts of the community where the tradition of BAMBOO GILA is known is derived from the Moluccas, but there are still many society from other areas that still dont not know about it.


Crazy Bamboo By : Anom manik agung
Crazy Bamboo Attraction
By : Anom manik agung


Prepared first a piece of bamboo with a length about 2.5 meters and diameter of 8 cm before the game starts,

After giving a spell on the bamboo, the handler then shouted “crazy, crazy, crazy.” Attraction crazy bamboo began. The dancers will move swiftly, following the movement of wild bamboo. In fact, the player’s body will be swayed even fell up, because wild movement of the crazy bamboo. They will make a series of movements, and linking their fingers to each other with agility of leg movements that is included walking, jumping and running following the sound of dynamic musics. Attraction crazy bamboo will end with the players which are fall unconscious in the show arena. The unique of this show, magical power of bamboo does not go away before being fed fires.


Crazy Bamboo AttractionFoto: ANTARA/ Fanny Octavianus
Crazy Bamboo Attraction
Foto: ANTARA/ Fanny Octavianus


Attractions of Crazy Bamboo


Maluku Islands


Location of Maluku Islands-East Indonesia

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Mentawai tribes, ancient tribes which are Isolated from Sumatra Island Indonesia

Mentawai tribes are a group of people who live and settle in the Mentawai islands of West Sumatra. Until now Mentawai cultures relatively still original, because they are  isolated from the mainland of Sumatra and have not been influenced by other cultures.


Mentawai men displaying a traditional greeting.
Source :
Author : Christiaan Benjamin Nieuwenhuis
Public domain


Mentawai Islands are located in West Sumatra, composed from the island of Siberut, Sipora, North Pagai and South Pagai. Siberut Island is the largest but less in the population compare with the three other islands. Communication and transport problem caused Siberut Island mildly retarded in development. Mentawai Islands which separated from the mainland of Sumatra are estimated since 500,000 years ago in the Pleistocene age by rising sea levels. Since then the islands are isolated.

Siberut is becoming increasingly popular as an area to visit the ancient cultures. It is well known for its virgin rainforest, inhabited by a number of animal species which is not found anywhere else in the world, among them rare monkey species. Beautiful coral reefs are found offshore.

Siberut is only a relative small island and has the internal variation in language, culture in life style and in recourses are substantial. There is no clear indication of when man first arrived on Siberut, but anthropologist suggest that the bataks of the north Sumatra that is first settled on the island several years ago. In many ways, the people of  Siberut are the most ancient people among people  in Indonesia.

Most of traditional Mentawai people live in the inland, along the banks of the river in the upstream. The main food is Sago, which grows in the swamps of nature and also create their own swamp by retaining water in the root networks, when they want to plant on the flat land, but  every time they cut down the sago tree to be processed into food, they will replace it with a new sago trees. Fish, shrimp and pork are the most common source of protein that they eat.

From the first, Mentawai tribes always apply to live integrated with nature. Destroy nature and hunt wild is believed to bring disaster for the life of the Mentawai tribes.

Simplicity of life the Mentawai tribes can be seen from the way they dress. In general, clothes of  them still traditional. Mentawai men still wearing “kabit” which cover lower body, made of wood skin,  while the upper body was left naked without wearing a piece of cloth.

Another case with the women, to cover the lower body, they dangle a banana leaf midrib to form like a skirt. While for the the upper body, they knit up palm leaf shaped like a shirt. If there Mentawai tribes who wear fabric glove or clothes, there were only a few people.


Mentawai people (Wikipedia)


The Tribes in Mentawai islands are also famous because of their tattoo and they called it Titi. Titi is one part of artistic expression and the symbolic status of the Mentawai tribes.

Previously tattoos was popular among adult men and women of Mentawai. This time only a small Mentawai tribes which were tattooed. Some of them can be found in the interior of the island of Siberut.

Needles that are used are made from animal bone or sharpened wood  and would hit it into the body so that it will create the lines that are the main tattoo motive of Mentawai tribe. Colorants that is used comes from charcoal which is stuck on crock. Usually in making tattoos is started from hands, arms, legs and body. For several days, the newly tattooed skin will swell and bleed.

Reputedly, Mentawai tattoos are included the oldest tattoo art in the world, even older than the Egyptian tattoos.


Mentawai people


Mentawai Tribe Tatoos


Mentawai Tattoo Revival



Mentawai Islands Regency – Indonesia

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“Asmat”, the famous Papua tribe

Asmat is the name of the largest and most famous tribe among the many tribes in Papua, Irian Jaya, East Indonesia.  Irian Jaya or Papua is the largest province of Indonesia, located in the central part of of Papua Island or the eastern part of West New Guinea (Irian Jaya). Eastern parts is the Country of Papua New Guinea or East New Guinea.

One of the things that made the Asmat tribe well known is traditional wood carving that is very typical.


An Asmat woodcarver
Source : Own work
Author : Edi Wibowo
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Some ornaments / motifs that are often used and the main theme in the process of carving statues that made by the Asmat tribe is taken from the theme of their tribal ancestors.

Carving for Asmat tribe could be a link between the present life with the life of their ancestors. In each carving contained the image and appreciation for their ancestors that is loaded with Asmat tribe greatness.

Sculptures and carving are generally made without sketches. For Asmat tribe, when the statues was carved was a time when they communicate with the ancestors in the other world.

Often also found ornaments / other motif that is similar to the boat, which is they believe as a symbol of the boat that brings the ancestor soul in the another world. For the native Amat tribe, wood carving is a manifestation of the way they perform the ritual to remember the souls of the ancestors.


Asmat Tribe Papua


Asmat tribe spreads out and inhabit the area, around the shores of the sea and mountains Arafuru Jayawijaya. With a fairly heavy conditions, considering the area is occupied, wilderness, in the life of Asmat tribe, the stone that we usually see on the streets was very valuable to them. In fact, the stones can be used as a dowry.

All of that is because Asmat tribe residence shape the swamps, so it is difficult to find a stone which is very useful for them to make axes, hammers, and so on.

Asmat population in general have a typical physical characteristics, black and curly-haired. Their body are quite high. The average height of the Asmat women are around 162 cm and height of men can reach till  172 cm.

Asmat tribe has a very simple way to makeup themselves. They only need the red soil to produce a red color. White color is made from the clamshells that have been mashed, whereas the black color they produce from the wood charcoal that is mashed. Is quite simple to use it,  only by mixing it with a little water and then the dye was able to use for coloring the body.

The lifestyle of indigenous Asmat people  is that they feel they are a part of nature, that is why they are very respectful and keep the surrounding of nature. Even the trees around where they live are considered to be a picture of  themself. The trunk describes arms, fruit describes the head and the roots describe their feet.

Asmat people daily work surrounding environment. To find food is by hunting and gardening, which still uses traditional methods and simple. The main food of Asmat people is sagu/ Sago and special dishes for them is sagu worm (the larvae of the sago palm weevil), but everyday they just grilling fish or meat of animals from the hunt.


Asmat people preparing sagu/ sago


Asmat Papua fishing


 More detail about Asmat tribe can be found at : 

Asmat people (Wikipedia)


Papua, Irian Island, East Indonesia, location of Asmat Tribe

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“Legong Dance”, one of the amazing traditional dances from the island of Bali Indonesia.

Cultural and creative arts in Bali are extremely diverse, one of them is the art of dance and from various dances that exist in Bali,  Legong dance is one of the dances that are worth to be watched. This dance is a Balinese cultural heritage that has undergone many developments.

Legong Dance in Bali culture is included in the type of classical dance, which at the beginning of its development originated from the royal palace in Bali. The dance was once only enjoyed by the noble families in their neighborhood in the palace as a dance entertainment. The dancers who have been asked to dance in front of the king will certainly feel a great pleasure, because not everyone is allowed to enter the palace.


Bali Legong Dance
Source : The work itself
Maker : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


The use of “Legong” word in the dance is a combination of the word ‘leg’ and ‘gong’. The word of ‘leg’ means flexibility and dynamically as the depiction of the dance movement that is performed by female dancers and “gong” means gamelan Balinese gamelan [1] as a musical instrument that accompanies this dance.

Explanation about Legong Dance [2]


Balinese dancer
Source : Own work
Author : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


Awesome Legong Dance 


Balinese Dancers in Ubud Bali

Balinese Dancers Ubud Bali

References and further Information

  1. Balinese gamelan (Wikipedia)
  2. Legong Dance (Wikipedia)

Snow in “Puncak Jaya” (Carstensz Pyramid) Jayawijaya Mountains in the tropical area of Eastern Indonesia

Jayawijaya Mountains is the only mountains and mountain in Indonesia which have the peak that covered with eternal snow. Jayawijaya Mountains stretched lengthwise in the center of the province of West Papua and Papua (Indonesia) to Papua New Guinea on the island Newguinea (Irian Island) with the height 4884 meters above sea level. Row of Mountains which have some of the highest peak in Indonesia was formed by the removal of the sea floor thousands of years ago.


Location of Jayawijaya Mountains, Papua, Indonesia

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Jayawijaya Mountains become a paradise for world geological researchers because there are still many secrets of the unknown stones of Jayawijaya. The peak which is also listed as one of the top seven continents (Seven Summit) which is phenomenal and became the target of mountaineers in the world.

Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University, USA, Dwi Susanto, said the ice in  Puncak Jaya,  JayaWijaya Mountains, Papua, currently lives 22 percent of entirety.  Drastically reduced 78 percent in 2006 since 1936.


Puncak Jaya , West Papua , Indonesia
This is a NASA astronaut June 2005 photograph draped over the NASA World Wind SRTM90 DTM and viewed from a similar angle to the 1936 and 1972 USGS photo of this tropical glacier group.
Source : Made with NASA World Wind from NASA public domain imagery 
Author : Original uploader was Gergyl at en.wikipedia
Licensed under the GFDL by the author


He explained that the ice is reduced drastically due to the influence of climate change, the global climate change that more heat will accumulate around the equator.

Puncak Jaya  in the mountains of Jayawijaya, Papua, is one of three peaks in tropical areas which is permanently covered with a layer of ice, the others are the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and  Andes Mountains Peak in Peru, America Latin.


Puncak Jaya
Source : Alfindra Primaldhi
Author : Alfindra Primaldhi
Under the terms of the license Creative Commons 2.0 Generic paternity


“By examining the ice sheet, not only to predict the future, but also see the history of climate change in Indonesia and Asia Pacific,” said Chief  BMKG (Organization of Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Indonesia)  Sri Woro Harijono.

Besides known as Puncak Jaya, the highest peak is also known as Carstensz Pyramide, or the Carstensz Peak. The name was taken from an adventurer from the Netherlands, namely Jan Carstensz, who first saw the snowy peaks in the tropics, specifically in Irian Island. The truth of  Carstensz report revealed after nearly three hundred years later, when in 1899 a Dutch expedition mapping Papua Island and found the mountain peaks that is covered by snow, as reported by Crastensz. Hard to believe to see the snow scenery in the tropical area.

To honor Carstensz, the mountain peak was later given of his name,  while the name of  Puncak Jaya (Jaya Peak) was s a gift from President Sukarno (firsts President of Indonesia)  after successfully obtained the sovereignty of West Papua from the Netherlands. This name has a meaning  : “Peak Victory”, as an expression of gratitude for the unification of  West Papua with the Republic of Indonesia.


Expedition to Carstensz Pyramide



Location of Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) Jayawijaya Mountains

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List of highest mountains of New Guinea (Wikipedia)

An amazing view of Mount Kelimutu, Flores Island Indonesia.

Mount Kelimutu is a volcano located on the island of Flores. The mountain location was precisely in the Pemo Village, Flores Distric, Ende Regency. This mountain has three crater lakes on the top. The lake is known as the Kelimutu lake, or Three Colors Lake, because it has three different colors, that is red, blue, and white. However, the colors are always changing over time.


Lake in the volcanic craters of Kelimutu.
Source : Own work
Author : Serenade
Permission : GFDL


Kelimutu is a combination word of “keli” meaning mountain and “mutu” which means boiling. According to the local belief, each color of the lake in the mountain has own meaning and has a very tremendous natural power.

The scenery in the area was very breathtaking. Thick white fog that moves slowly cover the peak of Mount Kelimutu (approximately 1640 meters above the sea level) is one of the very typical sight with three colored lake on the summit of the mountain.

Lake Kelimutu is divided into three sections according to the colors that exist in the lake.Blue lake or “Nuwa Muri Koo Fai Tiwu” is a gathering place for the souls of young people who have died. The Red lake or “Tiwu Ata Polo” is a gathering place for the souls of the dead  which during their life were always committed crimes/witchcraft and the White lake or “Tiwu Mbupu Ata” is a gathering place for the souls of parents who have died.


Crater lakes of Kelimutu at Flores Island, Indonesia.
The picture was taken by Brocken Inaglory
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Initially Kelimutu lake is known to have three colors, red, white and blue. The lake which is now black, before 1970 the color was red, as seen at the value of 5000 rupiah (IDR), Indonesia banknote  (the old form).


Crater lakes of Kelimutu at Flores Island, Indonesia The insert shows a paper money with the picture of the lake. It used to be a different color. The picture was taken by Brocken Inaglory.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


To climb to the top of Mount Kelimutu should be done early in the morning at 03.00 pm, because at 10:00 pm usually the weather was misty.

Some people make assumption that discoloration of water in the lake due to Kelimutu volcano activity, refraction of light, the sun, microbiota of water and because of the reflection color from the walls and the bottom of the lake. Short explanation is the water color changes to blue and white (now green) because of changes in the chemical composition of the the crater water, the impact from the changes of volcanic gases, or it could be caused by rising temperatures.


Kelimutu crater lakes, Flores Island, Indonesia (2008)
Source : Kelimutu
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Kelimutu crater lake, Flores Island, Indonesia 2007
Author : Rosino
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


The locals believe that changes of three color lake indicate to the natural phenomenon that will come, such as a volcano erupting, a landslide or other natural disasters.


Location of Mount Kelimutu, Flores Island, Indonesia

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“Sidoarjo mud flow” Human error or disaster ?

Tragedy ‘Lapindo Mud’ began on May 27, 2006. Originally mud was spurt in the rice field close to the gas drilling owned by Lapindo Brantas contractor.

Lapindo Brantas is one of the Production Sharing Contract appointed by BP-Oil and Gas to make the process of drilling for oil and gas. Currently, Lapindo has a 50% participating interest in the area of Brantas, East Java.

Lapindo mudflow tragedy in Porong, Sidoarjo enters the sixth year. However, completion of some problems that result from it still leaves a a question mark. Bursts are still visible. Payment of compensation to the victim has not been completed. Explained by the Sidoarjo Mud Mitigation Agency (BPLS), the average volume of mud that burst around 10 to 15 thousand cubic meters per day.


Underground Blowout (wild bursts underground)


The life of residents in the area has changed dramatically since the mud flooded the village. Six years mud problem caused social impacts.


Villages were flooded Kedungbendo Renokenongo and mud, two villages located in the north of the mudflow.


The number of diseases has been increasing since 2006. Patients with respiratory tract infections which in 2005 were 24.719 people, in 2009 increased rapidly to 52.543 people. Additionally, gastritis which in 2005 amounted to 7416 people in 2009 increased to three-fold to 22.189 patients.

On the issue of education, after 33 schools were drowned by mud, to date not a single replacement school built by the government.


Home sunk by mud flow
Maker : Original uploader was Arifhidayat at en.wikipedia
License ( Reusing this file ) Released under the GNU Free Documentation License .


Started on April 16, 2011, more than 2,000 people, were alternately blockaded mud embankments in Porong, Sidoarjo.

East Java Government asks citizens to be wary of mud levees. Currently all of the authority against all the possibilities that exist in mud levees become a burden Sidoarjo Mud Mitigation Agency (BPLS). They raised the levees to anticipate the occurrence of overflow from the mud ponds that may exceed the height of levees which is only eleven feet.

It is done by using three heavy equipment that are stationed on mud levees. In addition to raise the levees, BPLS is also clog in the mud ponds to drain the mud to another location that is still possible.


The mudlevel is much lower at That Time and you can see tractors trying to somehow help the problem. In the background you can see the pen Where the mud is flowing out.
This file is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike terms 2.5 Generic


Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights considered that the Lapindo mudflow case in Sidoarjo, East Java is not purely a natural disaster, there was the human error was behind the disaster.

Is the fault of drilling by PT Lapindo Brantas or because of the earthquake in Yogyakarta? Lapindo insist that the disaster was caused by the earthquake that occurred 280 kilometers from that place two days earlier.

In international forums, Richard Davies, a geology from Durham University, and Mark Tingay from Adelaide University, writing in the scientific journal stated his opinion, that drilling was a factors cause of the mudflow that has drowned several villages in Sidoarjo, while Adriano Mazzini expert geology from the Oslo University, argued contrary, that the earthquake that is activated Watukosek fracture, which crosses Sidoarjo and caused eruptions from the volcano.

To commemorate the five-year bursts, Humanitus Foundation-governmental organizations, non-political and non-religious-based in Australia and the Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) held an international symposium on May 25 to 26, 2011. On the first day, 10 speakers from abroad and four speakers from within the country as well as the participants review the location the crater of bursts

Around the crater, the committee put up the flags of countries that have conducted research in the area of Sidoarjo mud, including the UK, Australia, America, Russia, Japan, and Norway. Speakers and organizers did a photo together at the location of bursts and the symposium arena.


Satellite Imagery of Sidoarjo before and Effective Sidoarjo mud flow
Source : From NASA Website . Uploaded from wikipedia.en by User : TCY
Author : NASA


More detailed information can be found at :  Sidoarjo mud flow (Wikipedia)


Location of the mud (Porong – Sidoarjo) East Java Indonesia

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Fascinating Canyon in West Sumatra “Ngarai Sianok”

Ngarai Sianok  is a beautiful canyon, green and lush. On the bottom of the valley flowed tributary that meander tracing the cracks of the cliff, with the background of Mount Merapi and Mount Singgalang.


Ngarai Sianok and Singgalang mountain behind it
By : Ayu


Ngarai has a meaning valley, and Sianok is the name of a village in the area. Located is not far from Jam Gadang near the center of  Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra (Sumatra Island) Indonesia.  It can  be reached  by public transportation.


Jam Gadang (literally “Big Clock”) is a clocktower and major landmark of the city of Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is located in the centre of the city, near the main market, Pasar Atas, and is a tourist attraction. This clocktower has large clocks on each side and was given the name “Jam Gadang” (Description from Wikipedia)
By : Ayu


This gap of about 100 m which stretches along 15 km with a width of  approximately 200 m and is part of the fracture that separates the island of Sumatra in half lengthwise.

The Fault formed the steep wall, even perpendicular and formed green valley. The result of the down movement of skin of the earth (sinklinal) which flowed by Sianok Trunk (trunk means river, the Minangkabau language) that the water is clear.

Ngarai Sianok is a steep valley (ravine) and become one of the main attractions of the province.


One of the beautiful valley or canyon in the world
by : Ayu


We can see a perfect view of the Ngarai Sianok from Panorama Park, which is located inside the town of Bukittinggi. In this park there is also a famous Japanese hole. The garden is very beautiful and spacious, cool weather was a typical Bukittinggi will make an amazing atmosphere

From there, we can see a perfect landscape. This valley has a cliffs covered by the green forests. The extent up to tens of kilometers.


The Forrest in the Valley
by : Ayu


This valley is also very charming. On the left side there is a barren cliffs and forests and small streams. On the right, there are rice fields, roads, and houses. At the top there is a mountain  which is shrouded by mist.


Foggy “Ngarai Sianok”
By : Ayu


In addition, there is also a herd of monkeys around the park. No need to be afraid because the monkey is pretty benign on the visitors. Others fauna that can still be found are : long-tailed monkeys, gibbons, hoop, deer, wild boar, leopard, and tapir.


One of the animals that exist there 😀
by : Ayu


Video of ” Ngarai Sianok” with the local traditional music background


Another Video of Beautiful “Ngarai Sianok”


  Location of Ngarai Sianok, Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia

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Kuda Lumping, traditional dance (trance)

Kuda Lumping (Lumping horse) is a traditional art performances that uses the power of magic with the hobbyhorse form as a  main character, made of buffalo or cow leather that has been dried or made of woven bamboo (Java: plaited bamboo) which are given motif or decoration and made like a horse form. Kuda Lumping is as a hobbyhorse that is no more than a cutout of a horse drawing was given circular rope from the head to tail and later will be ridden by tying the rope on the dancers shoulder.


Kuda Lumping ( Lumping Horse) was performed on Malioboro street, Yogyakarta, during a festival.
Maker : Gunkarta Gunawan Kartapranata
GNU Free Documentation License .


The peak of Kuda Lumping show is when the dancers were drunk, would eat anything, including the dangerous and unusual eaten by humans (eg shard / broken glass and grass) and behave like animals (eg snakes and monkeys). Kuda Lumping Art is not just entertaining, but more than a show of skill magic power.

The art of Kuda Lumping is derived from Ponorogo region in East Java, Indonesia. This art then spread to several areas in Java, especially Banten where the magic tradition has grown. DEBUS art in Banten is clearly demonstrates skill in using the power of magic players therefore Kuda Lumping art scattered in areas where Debus art lives and become an integral part of the Banten art community. In the area of Banten, Kuda lumping often also called  Kuda Kepang (braid horse).

Kuda Lumping players ranged from 12 to 20 people, they are composed of :

The handler, that has magical powers, his function as a leader, director, and recited spells to make the the riders get drunk and make them behave like animals. A bundle of grass and shards of glass will be provided as a food for Kuda Lumping dancers.


Kuda lumping player eating glass
Places acrobatics and magical Kuda Lumping on page Jakarta History Museum. The main viewer takes glass lamp.
GNU Free Documentation License


The whip is used by the handler to direct the show, pretending to whip hobbyhorse, but directed into the empty space.

The show accompanied by traditional music and songs.



Cool Bali Fire Dance

Fire dance is a dance that uses fire as a part of the performances. Balinese fire dancer becomes entranced and are able to dance on hot coals without feeling pain.

Currently many fire dances performed at various events in different places in Bali as an entertainment for the beauty and uniqueness.


Fire Dance
Source : Angielski Wikipedia, original upload 17 April 2005 by Haloeffect
The GNU Free Documentation License


Various expertises that they showed to play with the fire. The most interesting to see is when the dancers put fuel (karosene) into their mouth and spitting it to the fire sticks that they use for the show so can make very large fire.



In Bali, the Fire Dance, regularly performed for tourists, have origins in ancient rituals. The Fire Dance originated in a trance ritual  dance whis is performed to ward off witches at the time of an epidemic.