Pasola is a cultural attraction that displays a game of dexterity by throwing wooden javelin or spears from a horse that is spurred by opposing sides. The game is intense because it does not require the use of any safety equipment, which can cause injury. According to Marapu customary beliefs, it is believed that an accident or injury occurs in Pasola participants is a sign that they have violated traditional rules, and the blood bared in the Pasola arena symbolized abundant fertility and harvest.

This cultural attraction is performed in West Sumba (Wanukaka and Lamboya) and South West Sumba (Kodi) between February and March.


Pasola begins after the Rato Nyale set an implementation date based on their reading of natural phenomena, namely the position of the moon or the sign of the appearance of a full moon (the result of the meditations of Rato Nyale according to Marapu’s beliefs).

In the early hours of the morning before the start of Pasola, the community goes to the beach to pick up the Nyale (sea worm that appeared on the beach) as a Pasola procession.

After a number of traditional rituals are carried out by Rato Nyale, the Pasola participants gather at the Pasola arena to form two front-facing camps waiting for Rato to enter the center of the field to draw a horse as a sign Pasola begin.

Determination of the date of the Pasola is carried out at the end of January by the Rato Nyale without the intervention of any party so that it is purely in accordance with the prevailing local customs and authenticity.