Traditional Festival

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Stretching from east to west for about 8500 km it sustains the fourth largest population in the world. 

The country is home to hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, highly prized traditions of music, dance and theatrical performances and remarkably warm people. Its populations have been shaped by the influences of indigenous religions from Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity over 1500 years.

The world's largest archipelago, Indonesia's constellation of islands straddles the divide between the Asian and Australian continental plates. Most of the country’s best-known attractions are on Bali, Java, Lombok and Sumatra, but there is plenty to be gained from getting away from the well-trampled tourist trails and visiting less popular islands. The islands offer a stunning variety of topographies and ecologies mist-shrouded volcanoes and mountains, unexplored rain forests, thousands of miles of beaches and endless offshore reefs support a dazzling abundance of wildlife, making Indonesia an ideal destination for the adventurer and eco-travel. 

So, what are waiting for? Let's explore the land, discover attractive cultures and experience the diversity that you will find both unique and fascinating all through this beautiful archipelago!

NOTE: Please be aware that for many festivals scheduling is done according to the various phases of the moon. Therefore the ceremonial date for these occurrences may differ from those has been listed. For more information on this and other events feel free to contact us.

Pasola Festival
Bau Nyale Festival
Kesodo Festival
Baliem Valley Festival
Whale hunting

Pasola - Battle of the brave in Sumba

Pasola is the name of ancient war ritual war festival by two groups of selected Sumbanese men. They riding their colorful decorated selected horses fling wooden spears at each other.  This traditional ceremony   held in the way of uniquely and sympathetically traditional norms, every year in February and March.

The festival occurs during February in Lamboya and Kodi. The main activity starts several days after the full moon and coincides with the yearly arrival to the shore of strange, and multihued sea worms – Nyale. The precise date of the event decided by Rato during the Wulapodu (the month of Pasola the fasting month).

Pasola is derived from the word Sola or Hola meaning a kind of a long wooden stick used as a spear to fling each other by two opponent groups of horsemen. The horses use for this ritual are usually ridden by braves and skilled selected men wearing traditional customs. In its wider and deeper meanings Pasola really not only is something worth looking on but also is something worth appreciating, for there are still other elements bound tightly behind it.

The people of Sumba believe that the ritual has a very close link to the habit of the people since it arranges the behavior and the habit of the people so that the balanced condition between the physical – material needs and the mental – spiritual needs can be easily created; or in other words the ritual is believed to be able to crystallize the habit and the opinion of the people so that they can live happily both in earth and in heaven. In addition to it, Pasola is also believed to have close relation to the activity in agriculture field, therefore any bloodshed (of sacrificial cattle or men participating in the game) is considered the symbol of prosperity that must exist. Without blood Pasola mean nothing to them. Those who died in the Pasola arena are believed to have broken law of tradition the fasting month.

Pasola that always takes risks, however, is acceptable by the people in a very hospitable way and sportive.  Back to the top

Bau Nyale - Festival of the Sea, Lombok

A traditional folk festival from the island of Lombok is scheduled for the middle of February.

Bau Nyale translates into the English language as capturing the worm. This annual festivity is called Pesta Bau Nyale, and usually involves a crowd of hundreds from the local Sasak community who flock to an area off the southern coast of the island.  Sasak  has become a popular traditional tribes that dates back to many centuries ago.

Together they catch a species of worm known as Nyale that rise out from the depth of sea at a certain time during the wet season. Pesta Bau Nyale is actually not a ceremony but a tradition that has been passed down through the generations and has been integrated into the community life in the south of Lombok.

The local community believes Nyale possess magical powers that can bring wealth and prosperity for those who appreciate the legend. Sometimes farmers come to the Nyale festival, collect the worms and wrap them in leaves, which are then used as compost and are thought to make the soil fertile. According to a survey that observes the socio-cultural aspects of the Bau Nyale, 70,6 percent of the festival participants who have used the worm wrapped leaves as compost on their farmland experience successful harvests producing an abundance of crops.

The timing of the Nyale festival also indicates to farmers that the seasonal rains will soon cease and it is time to plant their rice paddies. Through scientific research, the worms that come out of the ocean once a year have extremely high protein contents. Also, the body of this worm produces certain elements that has been proven to help cure certain diseases and sickness. However, there is still the need for further research on how the worms can be utilized and made into medicines.  Back to the top

Kesodo Festival - Ngadisari, East Java

A midnight offering ceremony at the crater of Mt. Bromo, the active and dominant volcano in the Tengger Mountain range of East Java. Held annually on the 14th day of Kesodo, the month of Tenggerese year. The actual ceremony begins at dawn, when priests of the Tenggerese Buddha Dharma religion prepare themselves for the offering ritual.

The offering consisting of rice, fruits, flowers and vegetables are brought by thousands of believers from the surrounding area. At the foot of the volcano the offerings are consecrated by the priest who conveys the wishes of the Tenggerese people to the God of Bromo, after which they ascend to the rim of the crater in along and spectacular procession. While moving the believers murmur their wishes in the hope that they will be granted.

After throwing their offerings into the crater, the people return to their respective homes, happy in their belief that will have the help and the blessing of the Betoro Bromo (The Goddes of Bromo). Cultural performances and exhibition will be held at Ngadisari, before and after the ritual ceremony.  Back to the top

Baliem Cultural Festival in Irian Jaya

Baliem festival is the main even festival held in August (generally between 9 -14 August). The highlight of the festival is the mock tribal fighting where men from villages dress up in full traditional custom (regalia). The festival also feature plenty of traditional dancing, as well as Dani music. Feats of pigs cooked using hot rock, pig races, flower festival, exhibitions of traditional archery are also an integral part.  Back to the top

Lamalera Whale Hunting in Flores

Lamalera on Lembata Island is a whaling village. The month of May to September is the whale-hunting season in which hunters sail out to hunt these giant creatures of the sea using simple, traditional tools and share the catch under traditional dictates. The catch is either consumed or sold.  Back to the top

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