Cakalele Dance, Maluku War Dance


Have you ever heard of the cakalele dance? This dance is quite unique because many people think that this dance is a dance that is possessed by spirits which is one of the typical dances originating from Maluku City.

The Origin of Cakalele Dance

Cakalele dance is a type of traditional dance originating from Maluku and is performed by quite a number of people, namely 30 men and women in pairs. Although in general this dance is more often performed by men.

Various sources say that this dance originated from North Maluku which used to be performed when soldiers were going to war, before and after the battlefield they would perform this dance.

Not only in North Maluku, because later this dance also spread to the surrounding areas, for example, Central Maluku and the Sulawesi region. The Minahasa people recognize this dance as a special war dance which is often referred to as the Kabasaran Dance.

Currently, Cakalele dance is no longer used as a companion when going to war, but is performed as one of the performances as well as a traditional ceremony process. People in the Maluku area and its surroundings consider this dance to be a type of dance that aims to respect culture and ancestors.

This dance also expresses the strong and brave soul of the people.

Cakalele Dance as a Traditional Dance

cakalele traditional dance

Cakalele dance as a traditional dance is considered a “spirit-possessed dance” because sometimes when performing the dance some dancers are suddenly possessed by spirits. In addition, cakalele consists of two words, namely Caka and Lele, where caka means spirit, while catfish means rampage.

In fact, it is not uncommon for dancers who are possessed by spirits to issue words like “Auleeeee…” which means flooded with blood.

Cakalele dance has various philosophical meanings. There are three meanings contained in the cakalele dance, namely the relationship between humans and humans, humans and nature and humans and God.

The aspect of correlation between Cakalele Dance with humans, nature and God can be seen from Tamo. Tamo is yellow rice that is deliberately shaped to resemble a mountain and at the end of the yellow rice is an egg.

Tamo is often presented during the Cakalele ritual. Tamo has a symbol that there is something high that needs to be upheld which, if interpreted more deeply, relates to the theory of creation, namely the relationship between man and God and the natural surroundings.

When you see the cakalele dance, you will also see a dance device that resembles a male genitalia made of bamboo. Inside the bamboo is Lahang, a traditional white drink from North Maluku, to awaken dancers who are “possessed by spirits”


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