HomeBlogs Sumba Island Sumba, formerly known as the Sandalwood Island, is known foe its horses
and Sumba clothe. Sandalwood was the only known cure for many diseases
until penicillin was invented. The Sumbanese traded with the Chinese
until the 16th century, after which the Arabs became the most important
trading partner until the early 20th century. The island is famous for
its arts and handicrafts, particularly the textile "ikat" weaving.
Sumba, however, is not for everyone. Neither the food nor accommodations
are up to international standards. But if we are willing to make a
little effort we can see an authentic, ancient culture with none of the
layers of Hinduism or Islam mostly found elsewhere in the country.
island has a small population and a dry tropical climate. In total
Sumba have more hours of sunshine than any other place in Indonesia. The
land resembles Southern Africa or Australia, with scattered small
villages and herds of cattle and buffalo Sumba is off the beaten track.
Transport system and roads are infrequently used. Most hotels in main
towns are simple, only catering for the adventurous. However, CNN etc.
are available for those wishing to stay in touch with the outside world.
Beaches are long and clean. Water is clear and abundant in fish, and
there is great surf.
The island is roughly oval in shape. The
greatest concentration of those who worship sprits (ancestral and those
of the land) is found in West Sumba where two-thirds of the population
holds on their traditional belief. It is here where incredible rituals
take place, the "pasola" where hundreds of horsemen fling spears at each
other. The government allows the ritual to take place, but the spears
must be blunt. Although some exist in East Sumba, it is in West Sumba
that one can find a greater number of huge megalithic tombs and
traditional thatched and peaked huts raise on stilts.
traditional activities, all with a part paying homage to the spirits,
take place in the month of July through October. These include the
building of "adapt" houses and burials when sometimes hundreds of pigs,
water buffaloes, horses, and dogs are sacrificed. Other ceremonies
include the "pajura" or traditional boxing, the festivals for lunar New
Year in October and November, and August 17, Independence Day, horse
races and ritual dances.