The Legend of the Pandanas (Hali ) Tree

When we talk about the origin of the Hali tree, first we have to go back to the pre-history in Suai. According to the pre-history, there was a Princess who travelled all the way down from Tolobebe in Sulawesi to Suai. On her way to Suai, she stopped at Laran Tuka. In Flores. Why did people call it Laran Tuka? Because all royalty on their way to East Timor stopped at Laran Tuka. to rest.

When she reached Timor the Princess did not stop in Suai, but went straight to Lorosae because at that time the land had not been named and there were no people in Suai.

When she came back from Lorosae, Suai had been occupied by people. At that time, Suai was ruled by the King of Fatisin and when she arrived the King offered her land to stay, but she decided not to stay so she planted a Hali tree which she named Hali Mean (Hali Sarin) for the people of Manekin.

She especially planted this Hali tree for the people of Manekin to adore and celebrate their Lulik or pray for help when they have a hard time, for example if there is a drought and other problems.

No other Kings and Queens had ever planted a Hali tree. The Princess of Manekin was the only one who had ever planted a Hali tree and it was planted for the people of Manekin.

So Hali Mean (Hali Sarin) has a significant meaning for the people of Manekin – to give them power and spirit and to give them shadow and cool.

(documentary makers’ note: Hali Mean literally means red pandanas in English. Hali Sarin adds a philosophical dimension to the meaning, according to our writer Alarico De Sena. whose family is from Fatisin. )