Solar Eclipse in Indonesia

Solar Eclipse Defeated By Indonesia’s Dayak Dancers

The news about a coming solar eclipse is certainly very exciting for millions of people all over the world who know what to expect.

Many people are familiar with the basics but few are aware that there are different types as well as different places they would have to be to see one a solar eclipse the right way.

For one ABC.net.au says that a partial solar eclipse would first take place on Sulawesi and Borneo islands before it’s seen from Malukus, after which the direct shadow of the moon will heads out to the Pacific ocean but few people know what this means.

The one that the Australian news site refers to took place last Tuesday which was a total eclipse, completely covering the sun. Other types are known as partial or annular, which leaves the sun looking like a ring of fire.

Annular solar eclipse like a ring in the sky
Annular solar eclipse which looks like a ring in the sky. Next one of these is scheduled for September 1, 2016 [image by Kevin Baird (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Thus far according to a list provided on Wikipedia — in the 21st century there have been 33 eclipses. The last total eclipse was in March of last year. And the annular eclipse, as shown in the image above, is expected on the first of September of this year, but will not be seen in the Western part of the world.

The last one seen in North America was on October 23, 2014, which was a partial one, and the next total solar eclipse to be seen is scheduled for August 21, 2017.

This time around the total solar eclipse was around Micronesia, Indonesia and the Marshall Islands, where most in that part of the world — and the pole(s) — saw the partial solar eclipse, which is further explained in a travel industry video prepared for tourists coming to the area.

The news site Bilbaoya reported that the Embarcadero Museum was sent out on a expedition with a production crew to document the event, but also mentions a local who woke her children up early in the morning to witness the event without their knowledge of what a solar eclipse was.

What was also planned was a ritual by a local indigenous tribe called the Dayak, who were apparently scheduled to complete their ritual during the solar eclipse to make sure the moon did not eclipse the sun permanently.

Solar eclipse
Solar eclipse as seen from the International Space Station over Turkey and Cyprus in 2006. There are two types of viewers in this case, those in the “totality” or Umbra of the shadow and those in the Penumbra. [Image by NASA via Wikimedia | Public Domain]

Yayasan Total Indonesia gave more details about the ritual, which included photographer David Metcalf, who has been observing the indigenous culture there.

“At about 6am on the morning of March 9, a traditional Dayak ceremony will take place that will worship this unusual event and pay homage to the ancestors and the spir[i]t world,” David said. “Leading up to this special day, there will be more than 150 dance performers displaying Dayak traditional dance, a fashion parade and a series of cultural festivities.”

As of this writing we have yet to find a recording of solar eclipse ritual that took place. However, Metcalf does have a recording from years ago of a dance which might be close to or perhaps the one they performed during the event, from last year.

During the recent solar eclipse, people were reportedly cheering if Muslims — the religion that dominates the area mostly is — were praying.

The Dayak belief is reportedly that of animism and called Kaharingan, named by outsiders in the same way the name of the tribe was conceived.

Because Kaharingan is not officially recognized as a religion by itself, it is more associated with Hinduism, as it is certainly recognized to be the oldest belief in the area.

The Ant Daily published an op-ed last year about the Dayaks fighting for their rights in their own nation. Much of these rights are for inclusion in the political process but also recognition of their own property, much of it in the forests, in order to protect them better.

And much like this fight, not only were the Dayak people determined to see their solar eclipse dance ritual through as it would appear, their determination paid off as the moon did not end up permanently obscuring the sun.

The New York Times has compiled a series of images on the solar eclipse event from different parts in the region, where the dancers are show in the source’s section for Indonesia.

[Photo by Heng Sinith/AP Photo]

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