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The Origin of Patuddu Dance

West Sulawesi - Indonesia
The Origin of Patuddu Dance
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West Sulawesi, often referred to by the contraction Sulbar (Sulawesi Barat), is a province quite new in the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Established on  5th October 2004, its biggest inhabitants were Mandar ethnic group (49.15%), compared to the other ethnic groups namely Toraja (13.95%), Bugis (10.79%), Java (5.38%), Makassar (1.59%), and others (19.15%). Needless to wonder, then, that Mandar customs and traditions have seen dominance in the area. One of the well-known traditions of Mandar is that in the welcoming of visiting dignitaries either domestic or foreign.

The welcoming ceremony is a little different from that of other places. Not only are the guests greeted by pagar ayu (a line of ladies) or with a flowe necklace, they will also see Patuddu Dance. In present time, the dance is usually perfomed by elementary students, carrying spears and shields accompanied by music from the drums. Patuddu dance is indeed known to be a war dance. That is because it was originally performed to welcome the warriors of Balanipa Kingdom who were back from a battlefield.

According to some of the local people, Patuddu dance was born when riots and wars were frequent between Balanipa Kingdom and Passokorang Kingdom in the past. Every time the warriors came home, the villagers gathered up to welcome them with Patuddu dance. The dance signals “the coming of the warriors and heroes” so that it fits the occasion of accepting special guests, as what it is meant for today.

There is another version told in a folklore story concerning the origin of Patuddu dance. It goes that, a long time ago, in a South Sulawesi (now part of West Sulawesi) mountain range, there lived a prince alone. One day, an adversity befell him. Flowers and fruits in his garden were mysteriously gone and no one knew who did all that. He wanted to find out who was the culprit. Can he find and capture him? Who took the fruits and flowers really? Curious? Find out the answers in the following story of The Origin of Patuddu Dance.

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Long, long ago in a mountainous land in Mandar, West Sulawesi, there lived a prince. Despite his being son of a king, he dwelled in a modest house alone with very beautiful flower and fruit garden surrounding it. Among the plants, there was a bathing pond. The water was so clean and pure. 

One drizzling afternoon, a rainbow appeared upon the prince’s house. A pleasant smell slowly spread around there. The prince was curious. He went in and out of rooms to find out the source of the smell. Nothing he found inside the house but he did not give up. So he walked out to the garden. There, too, he saw nothing. In fact, he was taken aback and angry to see many of his fruits and flowers gone. “Whoever the theft, I will find and punish him!” grumbled the prince furiously.

The next day, the prince was hiding near the garden to spy on the theft. Not long after, a rainbow came into sight, followed by seven pigeons flying around gracefully. The prince observed them. Then, surpisingly, all of a sudden they transformed into seven charming fairies. As it were, they were about to take a bath in the prince’s pond. Before getting in it, they played around while picking flowers and fruits carelessly.

The prince did not show a tantrum, though. In fact, he was quited by the mezmerizing beauty of the fairies. ”Oh, God! Am I dreaming? How beautiful they are,” he murmured in awestruck wonder. He wished that one of them would be his wife. By the time, he did not know what to do. ”Aha! I will take one of their shawl at the side of the pond,” said the prince to himself wihle shaking his head up and down.

Waiting for the right time, he fixed his eyes on the fairies. They were busy having fun in the garden. So absorbed they looked that the prince took the chance. Carefully, he creeped closer, took a shawl, and hid it. After that, he walked back to watch them bathing in the pond.

Taking a bath and having fun to their hearts’ content, the fairies got out of the pond and put their clothes and shawls back on. They had to fly home before the rainbow disappeared as it was the only way to heaven. But the youngest of them could not find her shawl. She could not fly without it. In panic, the other fairies tried to help her find the shawl. In the meantime, the rainbow was fading out.

The six fairies did not have any choice but leave their sister on Earth. She was so sad. ”Oh, God, whoever help me, if it is a man I will marry him, if woman I will be her my sister,” prayed her. A moment later, a thunderbolt broke out, indicating that God heard her prayer. 

Seeing the fairy alone, the prince emerged from his hideout and greeted her.

”Excuse me, lady. Who are you? Why are you crying?” asked the prince pretending innocence.

”My name is Kencana. I am a fairy and I cannot fly back to heaven because I lost my shawl,” answered the fairy.

”Well, you can stay with me if you want,” said the prince, halting a second, before continuing his sentence, ”I am not married, actually. So I will be so happy if you want to be my wife.”

At heart, Kencana wanted to go back to heaven so bad. But since her shawl was gone and so was the rainbow, she kept her word to stay and get married with the prince. Finally, they lived together in the house.

Several years on, Kencana and the prince had a son. The baby added up to their happiness. They took care of him carefully and affectionately. While nursing and educating her son, Kencana never forgot to housekeep.

One day, when cleaning up a room in the house, Kencana unintentionally found her shawl. She was shocked as she had never thought that it was her husband who had stolen the shawl. Dejected and angered, she decided to leave. With her shawl now in hand, she was thinking of going back to heaven right away.

She found the shawl when the prince was out. Soon as he came home, Kencana went up to him with her son and said, ”My husband, I have found my shawl. I’m leaving for heaven to reunite with my family. I’ll leave our son with you. Sometimes, I will appear to you again as a rainbow.”

Kencana flied up high, leaving the prince and her son on Earth. She flapped her shawl through the clouds. Her gesture was so beautiful in the sky, amazing everyone who saw her. It was this movement that was developed into Patuddu dance.

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The above folklore story is an exemplary tale that contains moral values. One of the messages it holds is one should not take what is not his. This is depicted by both the seven fairies and the prince. The fairies take the prince’s flowers and fruits without permission. Likewise, the prince steals a fairy’s shawl, preventing her to fly back to heaven. On the contrary, the prince must let his wife, Bidadari Bungsu, go soon as she finds her shawl. Taking things unrightfully result in losses.

To purloin is wrong. In religious term, taking other’s possessions and eating something out of it withou the owners’ consent are sins, no different from other forbidden ways to earn a living like stealing, taking others’ possessions by force, deceiving, gambling, receiving bribes, trading forbidden stuff, and applying eccessive rates of interest on loans.

Every religion urges its followers to always uphold, recognize, and protect the possessions of others, so far as they are obtained through righteous ways. (SM/sas/44/11-07).

Translation by Reza Daffi

References:

Isi cerita diringkas dari Wulandari. Asal-Mula Tari Patuddu. 2005. Yogyakarta: Adicita Karya Nusa.

Effendy, Tenas. 2006. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Yogyakarta: Balai Kajian dan Pengembangan Budaya Melayu in cooperation with Penerbit AdiCita Karya Nusa.

Anonim. “Sambut Tamu dengan Tari Patuddu”, (http://www.sulbar.com, accessed on 16 November 2007).

Anonim. “Sulawesi Barat”, (http://id.wikipedia.org, accessed on 16 November 2007).

Anonim. “Perlindungan Islam terhadap Jiwa dan Harta”, (http://www.perpustakaan-islam.com, accessed on 20 November 2007).

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