The tarian lilin or candle dance is a very graceful dance that requires a great deal of dexterity to manipulate the candles that are placed on plates placed gently on the palms of the hand.
The dance is usually performed by ladies.
It originated from Sumatra and portrays the tale of a beautiful maiden who was left behind by her suitor, who went in search of wealth. During the absence of her suitor, the unfortunate maiden lost her engagement ring and was extremely saddened. It is said that the poor lovelorn maiden searched for the lost ring till the dark hours with the aid of a candle placed on the plate.
The movements of her body, especially the swaying, bending and kneeling were so beautiful that a dance was inspired and created. Sometimes a variation of this dance is also performed using rings on the fingers that tap a certain rhythm on the hand-held plates.