Sumbawa Dance

Sumbawa Dance

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The two prominent ethnic groups on the island are the Samawa who mainly reside in the West Sumbaw/ Sumbawa District (east) and the Mbojo who live in the Bima and Dompu District (west). These groups both share a belief in Islam, but are differentiated by their local languages, customs, and traditions. Despite the different religion and belief systems of this diverse population, they live side by side in mutual respect and harmony. In addition, there is evidence of past Hindu presence as well as the influence of Bugis people (from Makasar, Sulawesi) on the island. Furthermore, Sasak (from Lombok) and Balinese migrants have moved into West Sumbawa.

One third of the 4.2 million population living in NTB live on Sumbawa. The population density is <100/km2 which is only 15% of Lombok’s. The diversity of the people provides the region with a rich tapestry of dialect and diverse range of languages, traditional dance, music and rituals.

There are some villages with a significant Hindu cultural influence in the West Sumbawa / Sumbawa District, and family temples can be seen from the road between Poto Tano and Jereweh, and near Utan Rhee. As such, there are opportunities to see Hindu ceremonies being conducted there. A village near Tongo, east of Sekongkang has a significant Hindu community as well. A significant new area for vegetable cultivation can be found at Sekongkang. Here the produce targets the large population of newcomers to Maluk and Newmont townsite. They are available in the local markets. Also the area around Jereweh is involved in producing vegetables.

Alor, Wedding

Alor, Wedding

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Alor is the largest island in the Alor Archipelago located at the eastern-most end of the Lesser Sunda Islands that runs through southern Indonesia, which from the west include such islands as Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, and Flores.

To the east of the island across the Ombai Strait lie the islands of Wetar and Atauro, the latter belonging to East Timor. To the south, across the Strait of Alor, lies the western part of Timor. To the north lies the Banda Sea. To the west lies Pantar and the other islands of the Alor archipelago, and further yet the rest of the Sunda Islands.

Lombok, Sasak Wedding

Lombok, Sasak Wedding

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Most marriages are monogamous, although polygynous marriages are allowed. The ranking system is important in determining marriage. Men may marry women of lower rank, but women marry below their rank only at the risk of being disowned by their families. First-cousin marriages are often arranged among nobility. Many marriages take place through elopement, which the Sasak call “bride capture.” Cousin marriage is preferred and is common. Within the limitations imposed by caste there is considerable freedom of choice of spouses. Residence is neolocal. Divorce is common and is generally the male’s option, following Muslim custom.

Domestic Unit. Households consist of people who live together, share meals, and cooperate economically. They are usually composed of nuclear-family members, perhaps including a grandparent or, in grandparental households, a grandchild.

Inheritance. The most important form of heritable property is land, especially irrigated fields or orchards. Inheritance rules vary by village. In many villages daughters receive one share to every three shares inherited by sons. In some villages women do not inherit land and older sons may inherit more than younger sons. Daughters may share equally in inheritance of houses, furnishings, cattle, and money, and they are provided for from the land inherited by their male kin.

Socialization. Child care is provided by both parents, other available adults, or older siblings (especially sisters). Infants and very young children are always carried; physical punishment is avoided.

Sumbawa, Dompu, Traditional Wedding

Sumbawa, Dompu, Traditional Wedding

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Dompu is the capital of Central Sumbawa and has a little more to offer than its sister cities of Bima and Sumbawa Besar. Most people that head to Dompu are surfers in search of the perfect wave. Most of these surfers have returned with wild stories of endless waves hitting the south coast of Sumbawa. Don’t expect to be greeted by great tourist facilities offering top range accommodation. Dompu is a town that can be used as a stopover on the way to Flores in the East or Lombok and Bali in the West, yet for those more adventurous types there is a little more behind this shy city. Even if you only intend to stay an extra day there is something that will take your interest from the relaxation of natural springs to the hectic races of Sumbawa’s horses.

West Timor, Likurai dance

West Timor, Likurai dance

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The group who performed the “likurai”-dance. They were very friendly but quite shy people. They were not used to foreigners (in 1995 anyway!)

Sumbawa, traditional dance

Sumbawa, traditional dance

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The two prominent ethnic groups on the island are the Samawa who mainly reside in the West Sumbaw/ Sumbawa District (east) and the Mbojo who live in the Bima and Dompu District (west). These groups both share a belief in Islam, but are differentiated by their local languages, customs, and traditions. Despite the different religion and belief systems of this diverse population, they live side by side in mutual respect and harmony. In addition, there is evidence of past Hindu presence as well as the influence of Bugis people (from Makasar, Sulawesi) on the island. Furthermore, Sasak (from Lombok) and Balinese migrants have moved into West Sumbawa.

One third of the 4.2 million population living in NTB live on Sumbawa. The population density is <100/km2 which is only 15% of Lombok’s. The diversity of the people provides the region with a rich tapestry of dialect and diverse range of languages, traditional dance, music and rituals.

There are some villages with a significant Hindu cultural influence in the West Sumbawa / Sumbawa District, and family temples can be seen from the road between Poto Tano and Jereweh, and near Utan Rhee. As such, there are opportunities to see Hindu ceremonies being conducted there. A village near Tongo, east of Sekongkang has a significant Hindu community as well. A significant new area for vegetable cultivation can be found at Sekongkang. Here the produce targets the large population of newcomers to Maluk and Newmont townsite. They are available in the local markets. Also the area around Jereweh is involved in producing vegetables.

Sumba, War Dance by Padadita Student

Sumba, War Dance by Padadita Students

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Sumba is an island in the SE of Indonesia with a population of c.500,000.  Geologically the island is a continental fragment which broke off from Africa or Australia and floated up to the ridge of line of Volcanic Islands where it has settled.  It lies south of Sumbawa and Flores and to the West of Timor (also a continental fragment). As a consequence its rock base is largely coral limestone with an average soil cover of between 0cm and 10cm in many regions. This makes agriculture in the more barren regions virtually impossible and enhances the value of the few fertile basins in the East and the more fertile and wet west. 

The Island is divided into four administrative regions. East Sumba being the largest with its capital in Waingapu. The former West Sumba district has just been dived into three: Central Sumba, West Sumba and South West Sumba.

Climatically however the island is divided almost perfectly in half. Each region lies at the extremes of tropical Savannah (a monsoon season of roughly three months in the East and up to five months in the West). The East receives its climate from the deserts of Northern Australia.  It is dry and hot, has nine month dry season and an average temperature of between 27°-36° throughout the year.  While it has a low level of rainfall it has a strong water basin and the Kambaniru river which rises from over 88 forest protected water sources in the south provides sufficient water for most of the region. Increased depletion of forest areas surrounding these water sources is a major threat to the life of the east of the Island.

Sumba, Sumbanese Dance at Rumah Budaya

Sumba, Sumbanese Dance at Rumah Budaya

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Sumbanese-Dance-02-800

Sumba is an island in the SE of Indonesia with a population of c.500,000.  Geologically the island is a continental fragment which broke off from Africa or Australia and floated up to the ridge of line of Volcanic Islands where it has settled.  It lies south of Sumbawa and Flores and to the West of Timor (also a continental fragment). As a consequence its rock base is largely coral limestone with an average soil cover of between 0cm and 10cm in many regions. This makes agriculture in the more barren regions virtually impossible and enhances the value of the few fertile basins in the East and the more fertile and wet west. 

The Island is divided into four administrative regions. East Sumba being the largest with its capital in Waingapu. The former West Sumba district has just been dived into three: Central Sumba, West Sumba and South West Sumba.

Climatically however the island is divided almost perfectly in half. Each region lies at the extremes of tropical Savannah (a monsoon season of roughly three months in the East and up to five months in the West). The East receives its climate from the deserts of Northern Australia.  It is dry and hot, has nine month dry season and an average temperature of between 27°-36° throughout the year.  While it has a low level of rainfall it has a strong water basin and the Kambaniru river which rises from over 88 forest protected water sources in the south provides sufficient water for most of the region. Increased depletion of forest areas surrounding these water sources is a major threat to the life of the east of the Island.

Sumba, Sumbanese Dance by Sanggar Ori Angu, Waingapu

Sumba, Sumbanese Dance by Sanggar Ori Angu, Waingapu

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Sumbanese-Dance-01-800

Sumba is an island in the SE of Indonesia with a population of c.500,000.  Geologically the island is a continental fragment which broke off from Africa or Australia and floated up to the ridge of line of Volcanic Islands where it has settled.  It lies south of Sumbawa and Flores and to the West of Timor (also a continental fragment). As a consequence its rock base is largely coral limestone with an average soil cover of between 0cm and 10cm in many regions. This makes agriculture in the more barren regions virtually impossible and enhances the value of the few fertile basins in the East and the more fertile and wet west. 

The Island is divided into four administrative regions. East Sumba being the largest with its capital in Waingapu. The former West Sumba district has just been dived into three: Central Sumba, West Sumba and South West Sumba.

Climatically however the island is divided almost perfectly in half. Each region lies at the extremes of tropical Savannah (a monsoon season of roughly three months in the East and up to five months in the West). The East receives its climate from the deserts of Northern Australia.  It is dry and hot, has nine month dry season and an average temperature of between 27°-36° throughout the year.  While it has a low level of rainfall it has a strong water basin and the Kambaniru river which rises from over 88 forest protected water sources in the south provides sufficient water for most of the region. Increased depletion of forest areas surrounding these water sources is a major threat to the life of the east of the Island.