Betel Nut chewing has reached ritual like proportions in the West Timor. The 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 subsistence 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 paraphernalia surrounding it.
The hand-woven cloth betel bag is used mainly by men and is called an Aluk. These hand-woven bags can be elaborate or plain. Women use grass woven bags called Mama Tas. There are betel cutters and crushers created from hand beaten metal.
Betel nut containers are hand crafted using bamboo, wood, bone, 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