Explore the Extraordinary: Holy Week in Flores

The Holy Week is a not to be missed spectacle. Although Christian faith is easily combined with pagan symbols, Flores is predominantly Catholic, with a small percentage of Protestants and an even smaller percentage of Muslims. Most Muslim communities are centered around the small fishing towns scattered around the coast,  they came as traders many years ago from Sulawesi and eventually settled to make Flores their home. The people of Flores do not seem to suffer the problems often related with different religions living closely together and have mixed marriages with each religion respecting the next. 

Agusto Rumat organizes special tours around the Holy week.

"Semana Santa" (Holy Week), the week before Easter, is an important time of religious celebration for the devoutly Catholic people of Larantuka. The celebrations center on two religious statues, one of Jesus Christ and one of Virgin Mary brought by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century. These statues are only presented to the public every Easter and are kept out-of-view for the rest of the year.

The religious festivities begin on Wednesday before Easter, known locally as Rabu Trewa or "Shackled Wednesday" in remembrance of the betrayal of Judas Iscariot. Devotees surround the chapel of Tuan Ana where the statue of Jesus is kept, shouting in Latin to mourn the arrest of Jesus by Roman soldiers.


Devotees likewise surround the chapel of Tuan Ma in nearby Lohayong village where the statue of Virgin Mary is kept.

On Holy Thursday, devotees enact the tikam turo ritual that prepares the route of the next day's seven kilometer procession by planting candles along the road. After the candle are prepared, devotees attend the munda tuan ritual in which members of a religious fraternity known as the Konfreria Reinha Rosaria (Brotherhood of the Queen of Roses) bath the statues of Jesus and Mary. The holy water used is afterwards considered special and is saved to cure ill children and to help women having birth complications.

On the morning of Good Friday, the Raja of Larantuka opens the door of the chapel of Tuan Ma thus allowing devotees to enter. His own clan, the Diaz Vieira de Godinho, enter first followed by the brotherhood members and the rest of the population. Worshipers kiss the statue of Mary and pray for divine benevolence through Mary to Jesus.

Meanwhile, the statue of Jesus is taken from the chapel in Larantuka and is brought on a seven kilometer long procession by land and sea. The procession has eight stops, each representing a major clan of Larantuka. At each stop there is a small chapel where a short prayer and devotional singing honor the suffering of the Passion. When the statues of Jesus and Mary are united, they are brought together to Larantuka Cathedral where many devotees attend a Good Friday service that lasts all night.


The following trips can be made, both on an individual base and in small groups. It is a wonderful combination of the Holy Week experience with the splendor of Flores


Day 1: Maumere-Larantuka Arrival (Wednesday)

Day 2: Larantuka visit church

Day 3: Larantuka-Holy Friday (Sea and land proceed of statue Jesus and Maria)

Day 4: Larantuka-Moni village

Day 5: Moni village-Mt.Kelimutu-Bajawa

Day 6: Bajawa-Bena-Hot spring-Ruteng

Day 7: Ruteng-Labuan Bajo-Rinca island

Day 8: Labuan Bajo-Departure


Day 1: Ende-Moni Arrival (Wenesday)

Day 2: Moni-Mt.Kelimutu-Larantuka

Day 3: Larantuka-Holy Friday and sea and land procced of statue Jesus and Maria

Day 4: Larantuka-Maumere

Day 5: Maumere-Departure


Day 1: Maumere-Larantuka (Wednesday)

Day 2: Larantuka

Day 3: Larantuka Holy friday

Day 4: Larantuka-Kupang city tour

Day 5: Kupang-Departure

The Holy Week program is truly unique and due to its special nature it is vital that groups should book one year on beforehand, individuals can book six months before Easter.

Prices on request.

These trips combine the splendor of Flores with a once in a lifetime experience.


© Jac Reniers / Agusto Rumat