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New leaders revive ‘wati’ plates in East Nusa Tenggara regency

The people of Nagekeo district in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), celebrated last Thursday the inauguration of Regent Johanes Don Bosco Do and Deputy Regent Marianus Waja, who had been sworn into office by NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat on Dec. 23.

But something was noticeably different at the celebration. Instead of using regular plates to serve various culinary offerings, the people of Nagekeo used plates made from dried palm leaves.

Called wati, these plates are traditionally used to hold cooked foods such as rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, as well as beef and pork dishes in various ceremonies and celebrations, such as weddings and cultural rituals.

With their inauguration ceremony, Johanes and Marianus took the opportunity to officially launch a program that aims to revive traditional, environmentally friendly products. Residents wove 10,000 wati for the event, using 10,000 banana leaves as lining. They also created 10,000 glasses out of bamboo.

In recent years, the people of Nagekeo slowly shifted from wati plates to more modern plates sold in markets or sellers who come to villages. Wishing to revive the tradition, the regent said that wati plates would be routinely used in public fairs.

“We must rekindle the confidence of Nagekeo’s residents to cultivate the eco-friendly plates,” he added.

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Tags: #environment, #food, #politics
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