The Tradition of Woni: Models of Adaptation of Manggarai Catholics in Encounters with Muslims


This article explores the adaptation and modification of the tradition of woni in Manggarai culture, Flores, in encounters with Muslims. Before the Manggarai people met the Muslim community, the tradition of woni was used to honor clans that had certain ceki. Ceki can be compared to the concept of totems in classical anthropological studies, namely animals or plants that are considered sacred by a particular community and become symbols and identities of a clan. Due to its sacred nature, the animal or plant is treated as taboo. In encounters with Muslims, Manggarai Catholics practiced the tradition of woni by providing halal food. This is also done to maintain inter-religious harmony. However, along with the growing awareness of the concept of halal, accompanied by a movement to purify the teachings of Islam and the rise of identity politics, the question of food provided by non-Muslims becomes increasingly sensitive and even crucial. This factor encourages Catholics to adopt variations in practicing the tradition of woni. Employing an ethnographic approach, this study found seven models of adaptation to the tradition of woni practiced by Manggarai Catholics today. The more rigid the Muslim community practices the concept of halal, the higher the adaptation of the Manggarai Catholics to conform to the Muslim standards. Conversely, the easier the practice of Muslims regarding halal food, the model of adaptation by the Manggarai Catholics may become lesser.