Duniart – Photography and Blog by Toine IJsseldijk

March 2017
Pasola is a mounted spear-fighting competition from western Sumba. It is played by throwing wooden spears at the opponent while riding a horse, to celebrate the rice planting season. The word Pasola means spear in the local language. According to legend, Pasola originated with a woman from the village of Waiwuang. When her husband – a local leader – left home for an extended period, she believed him to be dead and eloped with a new lover from another village. After her husband returned, the woman still chose to stay with her new lover, and the two were married. To forget their leader’s sadness, the people of Waiwuang held the festival of Pasola. Originally the participants rode horses and threw spears at each other in an attempt to spill blood to the ground, as a way of thanking the ancestors for a successful harvest and ensuring another prosperous rice harvest. The ritual changed over time into more of a mock battle. The spear tips are now blunt and their metal tips removed.

More about Sumba:


Wainyapu - West Sumba

Nyale - Wainyapu, West Sumba

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