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SUMBAWA TRADITIONAL FEASTS

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Pasola Feast in Sumba

Place Sumba island Province East Nusa Tenggara around February in Lamboya & Kodi village, and around March in Gaura and Wanokaka village. The purpose is the celebration of Goddess of Earth ( Fertility Goddess )
Very early morning around 03.00 two Ratos ( high priests ) go to the shore to look for Nyale ( local name for earth wombs ). They make small ceremony and then waiting for the appearance of the sea wombs. The appearance of the sea wombs is an indication of the future condition of the land. If the wombs come out in big number than they believe the crops will be successful and the land is fertile. For them the Nyale is also the symbol of land fertility. With unknown course they fight each other while moving to another place where 2 groups of hundreds of horsemen with spears are already waiting. Here one group should have been the alliance of one priest, and other group for the other priest. They continue their fighting now with big number of warriors using spears. Since this is part of a ritual, although it looks like a true battle, but no one will be injured, except might small scratch to drop the blood to the earth as the symbol of the fertility. This activity last until afternoon, and is watched by local people who come to the place of the ritual for participation.

Reba Feast Sumbara

Place is the Regency of Ngada, Central Flores Island, Village of Bena, Jerebuu, Langga, Beiposo, Boloji, Wawowae, Susu, Naru Mange, Bola, and Mangulewa. Province East Nusa Tenggara Date Unfixed, can only be known 3 weeks before the dates Purpose Megalithic tradition of Ancestor's spirit homage, locally called " Loka Lanu"
Today Megalithic tradition worldwide has probably steadily disappeared and extinct in most part of the world. As it is admitted, the tradition contains values very basic to the social life of human being such as basic values of friendship, collectiveness, and deep love to the parents or ancestors, homage to the great magic of the nature, and the feeling of fears. These basic values were expressed in many ways according to their environments. With the birth of religions and the awareness of the power of human thought, it is believed that this tradition has been diminishing and at the end will be only maintained for the sake of another interests.

Indonesia which region stretches from western tip to the eastern tip around 5000 kilometers and from northern tip to the southern tip of 1770 kilometers is a tremendous vast area dotted by island small and big which are recorded formally 13,677 islands. Most of the area consists of sea and the land is only 1,900,000 square kilometers. The islands are mountainous, except Kalimantan, leave narrow low land on 2 sides of the mountains with rivers flowing from the mountain to the sea. Here are most of the civilizations concentrated, although in some areas such as West Papua, East Java, South Sumatra, have mountain people. The nature of Indonesia has given a level of difficulty in the connection and communication among areas, even some areas until now are still isolated from outside world. These conditions have preserved the old world of Indonesian ethnic way of life. In the regency of Bajawa this feast is organized in the small villages between December and January. The influence of Christianity some are already using international calendar as the schedule. In this case we can note the following: Bena village and the surrounding small villages they organize during 3rd week of December Villages in Langa organize during 3rd week of January, Boloji, Wolowio, Bajawa, and Mangulewa and other smaller villages organize during first week of February The exact date can only be known 2 weeks before the date of ceremony.

The process of the ritual is prepared during the quarter moon, the chieftain announces to their people in his village to discuss about the fixed date of Reba Feast. This is normally done just a day before the ceremony is done. Dheke Reba is an activity organized during the night when all member of big families ( clans ) are gathering together to open and take out the “Sua” the symbole of man ancestors, and “ Bhoka” the symbol of woman ancestors. These symbols are cleaned by alcohol ( local “ moke-tuak”). Other heritages is the “Wati Reba” that is a palm leaves woven mat used as the meal dish. This mat is put in a place called “Pedho Kobho” which is also a place to keep all the tools for having meals and are only used once a year.

Every clan has a house for all, called “Ngadu-Bhaga” simply “Bhaga“ This house is for everyone of the clan members, while every family has also their own house. It is mainly used for public utilities such as meeting activity. Outside this there is also a “Lanu” located outside the village functions also as a place for gathering the clan's members and for adoration of the ancestors spirits.

During Dheke Reba young boys will visit from house to house to collect rice to be cooked in the Bhaga. On the day of reba the whole members of the village gather around an open place to celebrate the ritual and feast by singing and dancing while moving around the village. Their theme of song is always a thank to “Uwi” even while holding it or it's leaves. “Uwi” is Austronesian dialect for “Ubi” means “ Cassava” It is common among Austronesian where the use of alphabet [ b ] is changeable wth [ w ] for example Java's “bawi” in Balnese is “ babi “ means “pig” After circling the village they form a circle while swinging their legs back and forth. Starts the solo singer and answered by chorus of “ oh…. uwi” weaving a melodious resonance of deep yearning souls of romance and love of the patrias. They sing and sing, dance and dance can last for hours and hours, even until the dark blankets dawn in the east.

The only rain could stop them from doing so. In this case they will divide themselves into small groups in circles and continue the enchantment in the respective houses. Members of the society from the villages or towns or relatives will come to give witness, or participate in singing, dancing and simply celebrate the feast.

All guests will be invited to have meals and drinks by every house regardless his/her ethnic group or nationality. There is no invitation, no information, and no message to all members or outsiders to join the feast. They all come and participate, plunge into this vivacious country. Their cooking materials are not significantly different from other part of Indonesia such as rice, vegetables, meat, red onion, white onion (garlic), pepper, and some kinds of spices and leaves of plants they have been using for generations. Their cooking technique and tools are still traditional, using wood fire, and water source from the mountain. Day after the Reba is the ceremony at Loka Lanu which is called “Dhoi”. Loka Lanu is a house outside the village which is also a place for men for sitting and drinking “moke” a local alcohol, eating corn or cassava every morning and afternoon.

All customary public affairs are also discussed and decided in this house. During Reba feast girls cook here for the offering to ancestors spirits, and all mothers. All mothers also come to this house bringing rice in their traditional tools of big bowl called Kobho, and small colorful palm leaves woven dishes to be distributed to all members attending feast. Normally various meats are prepared such as pig, chicken, and vegetables which are already cooked in each of the house. From Loka Lanu they all back to the village bringing cassava or the leave of cassava and bring all the symbols of ancestors ( Su'a and Bhoka ).

In the village the dances are continuing, and the ritual at the village rice granary will be conducted. During the night in each house there will be an “advise” be preached by elder. The contain of the advise are about the living, couple life, and relation with outside world.

One can reach Bajawa country both by air or by sea. By air from Denpasar Ngurah Rai airport to Maumere airport, with non jet flight takes 1 hour 15 minutes. From the city of Maumere one have to drive around 7 hours to the capital city of Bajawa country that is Bajawa city.
From Bajawa to the villages need around 1 hour drive. Some nice small hotels with private bathroom are hotel Kembang, and Ariesta. They do not have air-conditioning, as the place is already high, around 1000 meters above sea level. By sea you can embark Fast Ferry “ Serayu” needs around 16 hours to reach Maumere. For returning back to Denpasar there are some choices. By air from Maumere to Denpasar, or by sea from Maumere, Ende or Labuan Bajo. By sea from Maumere via “ Serayu”, or via Ende, 4 hours drive from Maumere then aboard KM AWU ship, needs 2 days to reach Benoa port. The schedule of the ship is once in 2 weeks (on Saturday). By sea from Labuan Bajo, a port city around 7 hours drive from Bajawa. First choice is by air from Labuan Bajo to Denpasar need 2 hours non jet flight with current schedule is every Monday, Thursday, Saturday.

Sagi Traditional Boxing

Place Boawae Village, Ngada Regency, Flores Island around second week of July every year Purpose is Thanks giving
The word “Sagi” or “Etu” in Soa language means, “ to fight with boxing” and contains a purpose of ritual. Normally this event is organized after a harvesting season, and by this ritual the people will see that their future will be blessed or not. As a peasant leaving quiet simple, they have a limited fun, so this event is considered a time to enjoy and to show themselves to their neighbors, with feeling of festivity and unity. Seeing from the character of this ritual it is classified as a dangerous game, since one can hurt others with a serious sharp palm fibres and the point of horn.

Two men in in the flight envelop their hands with the fibres to use as a boxing hand cover. But this fibres are consist of small and strong multi-core which can penetrate easily the flesh, even cracked fibres can be very sharp. In Bahasa Indonesia this fibres is called “ijuk” with it's black color and sharp multi-cores called “iyip” means sharp. So you could imagine how frightening for the non fighters is. When the ijuk is used as hand cover for the fighting glass flakes are added, and a point of horn is fixed, so … it is dangerous indeed. During the fight, if one of the fighter is injured and the blood drops to the earth, the people believe that the soil will be blessed, and the people cheer up.

Normally when one of the fighter is injured than the fight will be stop. In the history of this ritual there has never been any one got infection. The injured is cured only with traditional medicine, and soon recovered. The whole time needed for the ritual and fun is 6 hours normally from 09.00 up to 15.00 PM. All members of the village attend to make the ritual as a fun. They all busy with the ceremony, which is called “Dero” The place, is at the open space near the village. Among the fighters there are already a very high level of sportivity among them. When the fighting finished those who are winners and losers are eating together in a pavilion specially prepared for this called “ Sao Puu “

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