Betel Nut chewing has reached ritual like proportions in the West Timor. Chewing of Betel has huge social as well as physical significance placed upon it. Betel to the Timorese is as the coco leaf is to the South American Indians. It puts extra oxygen into the bloodstream enabling the chewer to work longer and harder in the fields with less food. This is important in a society where most of the people are subsistance level farmers and food is not an easy or regular thing. The Timorese chew when visiting and greeting each other.
In particular Timor has created spectacular paraphenalia surrounding it. Still made and used daily. Most men and many women enjoy a chew often starting in the morning and continuing throughout the day. Betel nut accessories range from containers for the betel, the asparagus like fruit or leaves and tobacco to the more elaborately carved lime powder containers. There are boxes to store your stash in at home, cutters and crushers for when your teeth are too eaten away from the lime to be able to break open your betel and beautiful bags for everything to be carried about in. Betel nut containers are hand crafted using bamboo, wood, bone, metal/silver, coconut, gourds or buffalo horn. They are quite specific in use. Some hold the betel nut, tobacco and siri and are plainer. Others holding the lime powder are decorated. No two are ever the same.
I believe that Timorese betel nut paraphernalia is highly underrated considering its variety and uniqueness and that it will soon gain the recognition it deserves.