There is this custom in Central Sulawesi, the very well-known one, named Balia Dance or simply we call it as Tari Balia conducting in a very special occasion, i.e. ritual healing.
When one has been so sick for a long time and doctor‘s medications just are not working on them, the ceremony is to be undertaken to be the last call of healing steps.
Tari Balia which was derived from Kailinese as Nabali Dia meaning altered him. The alteration is about when one who is doing the dance is being possessed by a spirit, then his or her gestures, manner, and moves are also about to change following the flow of the spirit‘s will.
For instance, if an actor is a woman, and the spirit possessing her is a basic man, the actor would have a man‘s traits; she will directly sit with her legs crossed, wear sarong and shirt, and even take a cigarette; that also implies when the actor is a man.
The possession is not always a bipolar contrary of sex; it still depends on whom the spirit is. The concept meaning of Balia is not literally making one to be possessed or changed by the spirit, yet it is way more about the mechanism work of the spirit in terms of changing one‘s illness. Thus, the patient is to find its peace and health, simultaneously.
As it is noticed, the value of a culture is a collective concept relating to the 'living' marks. The people believe that everything which is deemed worthwhile, valuable, and pivotal could be their perfect life guidance that might lead them to the betterment of their lives.
Mostly, the Kailinese are Islam fanatic; they have a belief that everything happening in this nature, good or bad, is inevitably a set of Almighty God; however, they also have the confidence associating with animism.
A belief where supernatural and spiritual power might bring a travesty, an illness, and other unwanted things. Those could just happen once the spirits get outraged with human inviolable behaviour.
Balia ritual ceremony is generally enforced in the open place, such as a field or a wide yard, and has an impermanent large building constructed hand-in-hand by the family and the neighbor that want to hold the ceremony up.
The building is known as Bantaya or a community rendezvous—a gathering place for the actors of Balia right when the ceremony is running. The timing of the ceremony held at night is three until four consecutive days. The timing is simply determined by a local Sagamore and by a scheduled days.
In this moment, the instruments like drums, gongs, and lalove—a Kailinese typical long flute—become an integral part in a process of the ceremony. These instruments are played to accompany the actors of Balia who are dancing—in Kaili: Notaro—in the middle of being possessed by the spirits.
Balia is one of the belief systems of the Kailinese ethnics whose existence is still preserved. It is forming values, norms, ethics, and social order within the Kailinese.
It is really a fervent honor for the Kailinese in Central Sulawesi to know the fact that no one is about to go against the existence of Balia. In spite of the fact that Balia is totally not a part of certain religious parameters, the people and even the local government do respect it.
Regardless of the teachings of Islam as a major religion professed by the majority of the Kailinese, Balia cavorts a high artistic value as one of the local wisdoms, a manifestation of a culture which has been acknowledged by the community of Central Sulawesi as culture icon.
Appreciation and respect are things that will show our people‘s unity towards the country‘s culture. As the youngsters living under this inevitable millennium era, an era in which technology in the world health is sophisticated, they might easily forget this precious heritage.
Thus, the introduction cultural heritage is so essential, so the youngsters take their best endeavor to also take care of, to maintain, and to preserve it as the glue to unite the nation.
As a result, the culture that is the man hallmark of an area is not to be crushed by the times. Surely this is the responsibility and the duty of the Kailinese youngsters as the next owner of the culture. Great nation is a nation valuing its cultures.