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Easter in Larantuka: Flores Christianity, Identity, and Marian Devotion in Indonesia


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Thursday, April 9, 12:00 p.m., Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room)
Presented by Dr. Barbara Watson Andaya, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai′i at Mānoa

Over the centuries Marionology, the study of the veneration of Mary, has generated an enormous body of literature. In Southeast Asia Mary’s position in local Christianity has been well documented in the Philippines, but there is now increasing interest in Marian devotion in other Catholic communities, such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Because popular belief focuses on Mary’s role as an intercessor, special value is attached to pilgrimages to sites where she is believed to have appeared or with which she has a personal association. In Larantuka, eastern Flores, Mary is regarded not merely as the town’s patron and protector, but as its Queen. However, her image is only available for viewing once a year, from Easter Friday until Easter Saturday, and during this time thousands of pilgrims flock to view “Bunda Maria,” Mother Mary. While including some comparative remarks, the presentation will offer some historical explanations for the special status of Mary in Larantuka, and for the veneration accorded her during the Easter celebrations.


Barbara Watson Andaya is Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawai′i at Mānoa. She is currently working on a history of the localization of Christianity in Southeast Asia.