Pasola is part of a series of traditional ceremonies conducted by Sumbanese people who still adhere to the original religion called ‘Marapu’ (the local religion of the Sumbanese people).
Pasola games are held in four villages in West Sumba regency. The four villages are Kodi, Lamboya, Wonokaka, and Gaura. The Pasola in the four villages is carried out in rotation from February to March each year.
Pasola is not just a form of crowd, but is a form of devotion and an acclamation of obedience to the ancestors. It is a religious culture that reveals the essence of the religiosity of the Marapu religion.
Pasola becomes the bond of brotherhood between the two groups that participate in the Pasola and the general public. Pasola is an expression of gratitude and joy for the local community, because of the abundant harvest.
Pasola comes from the word "sola" or "hola", which means a type of wooden javelin used to throw one another from a horse that is being driven fast by two opposing groups. After getting the affix "pa" (pa-sola, pa-hola), it means the game.
So, pasola or pahola means a game of dexterity by throwing wooden javelins from the back of a horse that is being riden fast between two opposing groups.
Pasola begins with the implementation of the Nyale tradition. Without getting the Nyale, Pasola cannot be implemented. Pasola is held in a vast expanse of field, witnessed by all residents from the two competing groups, the general public, and foreign and local tourists.
Each group consists of more than 100 youths armed with spears made of wood with blunt ends and about 1.5 cm in diameter. Even though it has a blunt end, this game can take lives.
If there is a victim in the Pasola, according to Marapu's belief, the victim receives punishment from the gods for having committed an offense or mistake.