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Waai, Moluccans strangest spectacles - the sacred eels.


Waai, Moluccans strangest spectacles - the sacred eels.

For the first time I met some family members in Ambon who are living in Waai.
Waai a Christian village surrounded by Muslim villages located in the eastern part of the island of Ambon on the coast at the foot of the mountain Salahutu. Bung Chris took me to a beautiful part of Waai, a crystal clear water source that flows from the mountain Salahutu through the village into the sea.

With the exception of some freshwater carp, there are also giant eels who are sacred to the residents of the village. I was allowed to get into clean and soft water pretty afraid of the eels but they were harmless. The keeper flicks his fingers on the surface, and at this signal the sacred eels slither out of the cave. He then takes a chicken egg and breaks it underwater, to be gobbled up by the quickest of the eels. The meter-or-more-long fish receive these attentions because they embody ancestral spirits. Legend has it that the pools were created by a *Raja’s spear. Casting about for a place for his people to relocate, the raja hurled his spear from his mountainside dwelling, proclaiming that wherever it landed would be the suitable place. The great spear carved out quite a divot, and what was left filled with water and became the pools. Locals believe that when the eels and carp (which are also sacred, although they receive no eggs) swim away, a disaster will occur. This portent last occurred in the 1960s, and sure enough, an epidemic struck. Once the villagers made atonement to the ancestral spirits, the eels returned and the disease stopped. And has also happened most recently in 1999 when a bloody war arose between Muslims and Christians on the island.

Be aware that if going into the water, that is something special. At the head of the stream, only the descendants of the Raja are allowed into the water and nobody else. When the flow further expires, there is opportunity to swim, but where the eels swimming is strictly prohibited, eventhough the kids in the village do sneak into the water while taking a jump from the little bridge, for fun.

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