The Pasola Festival is an original war ritual for giving thanks to the ancestral spirits in the region of West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara. Therefore 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.
This festival is held every year in February and March in Kodi and Lamboya, unfortunately the exact dates not predictable, because it is decided by the Rato and announced only one or two weeks before.
The word Pasola derives from Sola or Hola, which means a kind of a long wooden stick used as spear. The Sumbanese people 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.