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October 27, 2016

SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century

October 27, 2016

SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century





by Sheila Renei Gómez

Sasak Sade Village

The Sasak, a predominantly Balinese ethnic group, makes up 85% of Lombok’s population. Lombok was previously a feudal state divided into small, ruling kingdoms that followed mixed belief systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Animism. By the 16th century, the majority of the Sasak converted to Islam, but maintained old religious practices—creating a uniquely Lombok blend of a Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist religion jointly called Wetu Telu.

On our #TripofWonders to the Island of Lombok, we paid an essential visit to one of the quaint cultural villages of the area. At Sade, the ancient weaving practices of the Sasak Tribe endure in the midst of Lombok’s touristic development. 

SASAK SADE CULTURAL VILLAGE
Rembitan, Pujut, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83573, Indonesia

Entrance Fee:
IDR 10,000 

THE TRIP OF WONDERS INDONESIA SERIES 2016

INDONESIA: Experience the Wonders of Indonesia on your Next Trip in 2017!
BANDUNG: Top Must-See Destinations at The Weekend Capital of Indonesia
BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!
• SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century
• KOMODO NATIONAL PARK: On Dragons, Terrific Treks & Pink Beach!
• THE ROYAL AMBARRUKMO: Rubbing Elbows with Kings & Presidents through History
• ALILA SEMINYAK: Bali’s Prime Luxury Resort Destination!


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Sasak Sade Village

Guests are greeted by the villagers with the thrilling drumbeats and hypnotic chimes of a Gamelan ensemble. After experiencing the fast-paced, modern life of Jakarta and Bandung, Sasak Sade felt like a completely different realm.

 

GENDANG BELEQ

Sasak Sade Village

Two men perform the Gendang Beleq, meaning “big drum”. Historically a ritual performance to prepare warriors for battle or to welcome them back home, this dance is now performed to open festivals, cultural demonstration, or special occasions such as Merariq (marriage) and Sunatan (circumcision).

 

PERESEAN DANCE

Sasak Sade Village

As a show of manhood, the Peresean Dance takes place among the best warriors (referred to as Pepadu) of the tribe. This was traditionally done in the past to build relationships, celebrate victories, and also train the men for battle.

 

Sasak Sade Village

In place of swords or spears, men wield rattan sticks called Penjalin and a shield made of hardened buffalo hide called Ende. Three rounds with a referee (Pakembar) is typical of the Peresean.

 

Sasak Sade Village

At first, I thought this was a real fight until I saw the men grinning after each blow to the shield. Viewers are invited to join the dance and experience the Peresean for themselves!

 

TARI PETUK

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A child performs the Tari Petuk, an impressive ceremonial circumcision dance. It is typical for boys between the age of 7 and 12 to undergo this procedure as a coming of age ceremony.

 

TARI AMAQ TEMPENGUS

Sasak Sade Village

The last performance is the Tari Amaq Tempengus. Dressed in a silly court jester costume, the Amaq (father) is donned in full-face make up and mimics a pantomime.

 

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Occasionally approaching the audience, you won’t miss a chance to take a close-up picture of the court jester.

  

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When the performances are done, you will have an opportunity to explore the rest of the village and even some houses if you’re with a tour guide.

 

Sasak Sade Village

The architecture of Sasak houses is unique to their culture. Bulging, tapered roofs of their huts are made with Alang-Alang or Cogon Grass while the floors and walls are cleaned with a combination of Adobe and Cow Dung.

 

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(Photo by Estan Cabigas of langyaw.com. See the original post here: A glimpse of Sasak life in Rembitan, Lombok)

The practice of applying cow dung to floors also spills over to Indian households. Since Hinduism was a huge part of Sasak life, I am assuming this is where the tradition might have stemmed from.

It may seem counterintuitive to be put feces all over your house, but it turns out that Cow Dung has anti-bacterial properties. It also helps insulate houses and repel mosquitos!

 

Sasak Sade Village

The are around 700 inhabitants in the village and 150 households. The 15 generations that have lived here also married their cousins, as per Sasak custom. This ensures a pure bloodline.

Marriage occurs in one of two ways. The first way, called Nyongkolan, involves the male asking the female’s family for her hand in marriage. The second, more adventurous way is referred to as Merarik—when the male kidnaps the girl from her family!

 

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Aside from farming, weaving is one of the main sources of income for the Sasak Tribe. It’s expected for a girl to learn how to weave a Tenun (the vibrant tapestries) before getting married.

 

Sasak Sade Village

The high-quality tenun here are sold around IDR 80,000 up to IDR 250,000, but vendors are more than happy to bargain. I advise visitors to be modest about their bargaining because the most of the Tenun here are already inexpensive.  

Most of the cotton is picked right within the village and hand-spun. One complex Tenun can take up to 3 weeks to complete.

 

Sasak Sade Village

Traditional jewelry and other handmade trinkets can be bought around the area.

 

Sasak Sade Village

The beautiful woven pieces are wonderful reflections of the Sasak skill and heritage, but I couldn’t help but feel saddened to see how a great deal of the indigenous village area was turned into shops for tourists.

 

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The older villagers are quiet and observant. It is not hard to see that some of them are struggling to maintain their culture, yet also adapt to modern life.

 

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Most of the people, especially the children, no longer wear any remnants of the Sasak traditional dress. However, the children are happy and I am positive their generation will pave way to a brighter future for the Sasak Tribe.

 

Sasak Sade Village

This picture is ironic. You will observe a Tenun in the making—a deeply cultural artifact with generations of history and meaning; then you see a modern, and cheaply made packet of potato chips probably produced in less than 5 seconds. Slowly, but surely, the modernities of the 21st century are unabashedly creeping into Sasak culture. 

I’m positive, however, that protected villages like Sasak Sade can help preserve the ancient traditions longer—but we can’t be sure for how long.

 

SASAK SADE CULTURAL VILLAGE
Rembitan, Pujut, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83573, Indonesia

Entrance Fee:
IDR 10,000

THE TRIP OF WONDERS INDONESIA SERIES 2016

INDONESIA: Experience the Wonders of Indonesia on your Next Trip in 2017!
BANDUNG: Top Must-See Destinations at The Weekend Capital of Indonesia
BOROBUDUR TEMPLE: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Sunrise in the World!
• SASAK TRIBE OF LOMBOK: How Ancient Traditions Still Endure in the 21st Century
• KOMODO NATIONAL PARK: On Dragons, Terrific Treks & Pink Beach!
• THE ROYAL AMBARRUKMO: Rubbing Elbows with Kings & Presidents through History
• ALILA SEMINYAK: Bali’s Prime Luxury Resort Destination!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

sheila signature

SHEILA of Team Our Awesome Planet

 

Disclosure: Travel and style bloggers from Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, and Malaysia were invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism in the second run of #TripofWonders. During the course of our adventure, we experienced various destination highlights in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok, and Labuan Bajo. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights

P.S. If you want to help the Sasak community, donations are more than welcome at the village. 


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