TRADITION OF EATING SIRIH PINANG IN RAJA AMPAT
Pinang or Areca Nut, Latin called Areca catechu, it is not something new for Indonesian. Pinang stemmed from Malacca (Malaysia) have entered Indonesia BC. There are sources that say Pinang entered in the 6th century BC, but some sources say in the 4th century BC Pinang already in Papua.
Areca nut is a type of palm tree that is in Hindi this fruit called Supari, and Pan-Supari to call betel-nut. Malaysian named it Adakka or Adekka, being in the language of Sri Lanka known as Puikiuivak. Thai society called it Mak, and the Chinese call Pin-lang.
Pinang or Areca Nut is a symbol of good character inherited from good ancestor, honest, and has a high degree of live. Further more, it symbolizes willingness to do a job with an open hearted and sincere. This meaning is drawn from the nature of areca nut trees that are tall straight up and have a dense fruit in cluster.
Areca Nut in relation to the culture of Indonesia is the Indonesian people’s habits for “menginang” means chewing Areca Nut. The complete mixture of areca nut are lime, betel nut and gambier. Some people often add tobacco to have extra bit of taste. Chewing areca nut will make lips red. Chewing areca nut make teeth stronger, and create the effects of addiction just like smoking cigarettes.
For the elderly, sometimes difficult to chew areca nut, so they usually crush it finely with a mortar before chewing it. Almost the same with cigarettes and snacks, chewing areca nut can be done anytime from morning until evening. Chewing areca nut give incredible sensation in the tongue of the lovers.
The habit of chewing areca nut has penetrated into Indonesia through various regions from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan to Papua. However, due to the effect that cause lips and saliva become red, more over it doesn’t look neat, especially with the presence of cigarettes and snacks, then chewing areca nut is gradually eroded.
Chewing areca nut, is just like smoking cigarette or drinking coffee or tea, cause tremendous effect for the people. In Papua even worse, since children 5 years of age have been able to do so, even though in other parts of Indonesia such as Borneo, Sumatra, Java, chewing areca nut usually only done by elderly.
In addition to the pleasure effect of chewing areca nut, there are also other benefits of doing this habit.
In the ancient times, chewing areca nut can be used as a tribute to someone, for instance; so if there is a visit, areca nut is given in welcome ceremony.
Areca nut can also be used as a dowry, some are merely as an introduction to speak, as a binder relations before marriage (engaged) or as a traditional medicine. Not surprisingly, in the Indonesian ancient times people really liked areca nut and considered areca nut as something very special.
Areca nut will not be for chewing without adding it with lime, betel and gambier. Why do so, let us see how it actually philosophy of chewing nut tells:
Is a tropical plant, grown in Madagascar, East Africa, and the West Indies. Betel are also available in Peninsular Malaysia. There are four types of betel, namely betel Malay, Chinese betel, Keling betel, and Shrimp betel. In Indonesia, known as various names such as betel nut types Branch, Be, Bed, Siyeh, Sih, Camai, Kerekap, Feeling, Chili, Jambi, Kengyek, and crust.
Betel, said to symbolize humility, giving, and always praise for others. This meaning is interpreted from the way of climbing betel grows on rack, tree trunk or trunk fires without damaging the rod or anything where he live. In biological terms is called symbiosis of something. Betel leaves are dense and lush provide shade around it.
Obtained from the processing of oyster shell or limestone burning. Physically, clean white color, but can destroy their chemical reactions. Chalk white symbolizes the heart and sincere, but if circumstances force, he will become more aggressive and angry.
Gambir also is a plant that is found in Southeast Asia, including in the family Rubiaceae. The leaves are oval or oblong, and the surface slippery. Gambier flower gray. Gambier is also used as a drug, among others, to wash and scald burns, preventing diarrhea and dysentery, as well as moisturizing wounds in the esophagus. Gambir has a slightly bitter taste, symbolizes courage. This meaning is derived from the color of the leaves are yellowish gambier and requires a certain processing to obtain the juice, before it can be eaten. Hence, if you aspire to something, we have to wait the process to achieve it.
By eating a bunch of betel nut and lime, is a symbol of hope for a man who is always humble and calm like betel. Fastidiously clean, sincere but aggressive like chalk. Honest, heartfelt and sincere as nut trees. And if it means added gambier heart patient and steadfast like the gambier. all of which must be in blended as one that fits, should really be mixed with the right to produce a delicious flavor.
To preserve the culture of eating betel and areca eating prohibition against rules, in Papua then some artists traditions and village communities in West Papua try to repeat the past painting technique by using spit betel work. These works are poured on the wall, bark, cloth, paper, and wood beams.
A sculpture artist from Papua Barat, Isaiah Major of Cultural Art Gallery Koranu Fyak, Raja Ampat, also have tried using saliva nut to various forms of motive over bark, paper and palm leaves. Lanjar Jiwo, and artist from Sorong, together with tribal communities in the mountains Tamrau Maybrat been incised spit betel nut as a natural dye in Karwar home made sculptures. While villagers Waifoi and Warimak, District Mayalibit Bay, Raja Ampat try spitting betel nut on paper and cloth.
As word of the ancestors in Papua “menginang” contains a thousand meanings, if they know the meaning of life which would be close to perfect”.
Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort also maintains the habit as respect to local culture. Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort is located on an island filled with various types of plants that grow providing a distinct advantage for the manager of the resort to be easy to introduce foreign guests regarding the culture of chewing areca nut to show the types of plants that are used.