**PROGRAM AVAILABLE ONLY ON FEBRUARY – MARCH**
Located only an hour’s flight from east of Bali, the Indonesian island Sumba amazes and mesmerises its visitors. Not only with its beautiful beaches and landscape but also its unique, well-preserved culture and traditions. The common saying “time stands still” is rarely more appropriate than it is here in mysterious Sumba. People still practice their ancestors’ religion and rituals that first emerged over 4,500 years ago. Due to the island’s remote location, its flourish obscurity has allowed it to omit the passage of time, holding steadfast to old traditions ever since. The Pasola festival is one of the traditions that Sumba people have been taught through centuries by their ancestors. An ancient war ritual ceremony.
The Pasola Festival is an original war ritual for giving thanks to the ancestral spirits in the region of West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara. Two groups of 25 men each, mostly from the upper and the lower village are fighting each other while riding horses and throwing their wooden spears toward the opponent. The initiating prayer is lead by the Rato, a traditional priest, and after he threw symbolically his spear between the groups, the “war-game” immediately starts. The selected proud Sumbanese men and also their horses are wearing traditional and colorful clothes during this ceremony. The festival is held every year in February or March in Kodi or Lamboya, unfortunately the exact dates are not predictable, because it is decided by the Rato and announced only one or two weeks before.
The word Pasola derives from the word Sola or Hola, which means a kind of a long wooden stick used as spear. The Sumbanese believe that the festival creates a balance between material and spiritual needs in order to live happily in earth and in heaven. It contains also a sacrificial thought so that a certain bloodshed is considered to be essential. Pasola is usually the climax of a whole series of activities to celebrate the feast Nyale. Pasola is believed to be the order of the ancestral population of adherent Marapu and expresses the essence of religion.