Wai Lili Wai Wa Wai Husu Wai Lewa

The name of Wailili Wai Wa Wai Husu Wai Lewa binds together ritual centres of Baucau and Wailili in a fertility-giver and fertility-taker relationship. The catalyst for this relationship was the accidental fall of a son of Wailili (from the house of Loi Leki) into a cave containing water. Following this he travelled through the underground waters emerging at Wai Lia spring. In this account of Wailili Wai Wa Wai Husu Wai Lewa the connections forged by this event extended into networks much denser than simply the Ledatame Ikun sacred house in Darasula (see Story of Wai Lia and Wai Lia Bere). Ledatame is in fact a branch house of Loi Leki and this earlier story relates to a time when the origin house of Loi Leki was still at the peak of its ritual and political power in the village of Wailili. 

 In this story, after the marriage of a son of Wailili to a daughter of Bahu, other daughters of Bahu also began marrying into the houses of Wailili. The two spring complexes and ritual centres known respectively as Wai Lili-Wai Wa and Wai Husu-Wai Lewa became focal points for collective post-harvest rice rituals with each centre expected to actively participate in the rituals of the other. Overtime as these relations entrenched themselves, the two ritual centres held a ceremony in which they exchanged the respective ancestral names of their spring complexes. This exchange gave each spring community the right to invoke each other's ancestral names to harness their power and protective blessing in community rituals. This relationship then transformed into a shared approach to the regional ritual regulation of land and resources and the two centres began gathering at each other's spring complexes for major seven yearly ceremonies. At these ceremonies it was the Baucau villages' responsibility as fertility-givers to contribute rice and pigs. Buffalo and goats were expected as the contribution from the fertility-takers of Wailili. The purpose of these ceremonies was to cement the ties between the centres, maintain peaceful relations, and respect each other's boundaries, fields, produce and livestock. Today this type of ritual relationship is glossed as tara bandu. 

Yet it was not long after their ancestor had travelled through the water to Wai Lia, that a now unknown (or undisclosed) dispute divided the house of Loi Leki, a division that continues to this day. While subsequently the political power of the various houses of Loi Leki became subservient to the dominion of Luca, in later periods these houses divided again between northern and southern zones known as Fatumaka Leten and Fatumaka Kraik (this was also to become the key colonial administrative division of the former Wailili kingdom in the nineteenth century). By this period, the houses of Wailili had also become places for the in-migration of Makasae speaking houses from the Matebian foothills. Bringing with them 'knowledge of fire' and stores of gold, from these early beginnings the Makasae language spread throughout the region of Fatumaka. By the twentieth century as Portuguese colonial control increased and the Catholic Church installed a grotto by the spring of Wai Lakulo, Wailili had diminished as a centre of ritual power. By the end of the World War Two Japanese occupation, the ritual relationship between the rice growing villages of Baucau and Wailili was in disrepair. 

Yet throughout this time the number of branch houses derivative of Loi Leki had grown and they had spread throughout the region to establish sacred houses elsewhere, including on the savanna of the Baucau plateau. Sometime during this migration from the spring groves of Wailili to the drylands of the plateau, the most recent version of the connection between Wai Husu-Wai Lewa and Wai Lili-Wai Wa emerged: this time configured through the connection between Wai Lia and Wai Lia Bere,

Related entries

Label / Notes Owner Date Modified
Lisa Palmer 15-Jun-2012 06-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 15-Jun-2012 03-Jul-2015