Pasola is the name of a war game tournament played by two groups of selected Sumbanese men. They riding their decorated selected horses fling wooden spears at each other. (The government allows the ritual game to take place, but the spears much the blunt). Pasola is a traditional ceremony of the Sumbanese held in the way of uniquely and sympathically traditional norms, every year in February and March and has become the focus of attention of the people since it is a part of the sacred homoge to the Marapu.
Pasola is, above all, the most exciting ritual of Sumba-where else in the world can you see colorful horsemen trying to kill each other? Where else in the world can you see the shedding of blood, the lost of and eye, and occasional death coloring the event and being the part of the game?. The ceremony occurs during February in Lamboya and Kodi and during March in Gaura and Wanukaka. The main activity starts several days after the full-moon and coincide with the yearly arrival to the shore of strange, and multihued sea worms – nyale. The precise date of the event decided by Rato during the wula podu (the month of pasola the fasting month).
Pasola is derived from the world Sola or Hola meaning a kind of a long wooden stick used as a spear to fling each other by two opponent groups of horsemen. The horses used for this ritual are usually ridden by the brave and skilled selected men wearing traditional customes. In its wider and deeper meanings Pasola really not only is something worth looking on but also is something worth appreciating, for there are still other elements bound tightly behind it. The people of Sumba believe that the ritual has a very close link to the habit of the people since it arranges the behavior and the habit of the people so that the balanced condition between the physical – material needs and the mental-spiritual needs can be easily created; or in other words the ritual is believed to be able to crystallize the habit and the opinion of the people so that they can live happily both in earth and in heaven. In addition to it, Pasola is also believed to have close relation to the activity in agriculture field, therefore any bloodshed (of sacrificial cattle or men participating in the game) is considered the symbol of prosperity that must exist. Without blood Pasola means nothing to them. Those who die in the pasola arena are believed to have broken the law of tradition during the fasting month. Pasola that always takes risks, however, is accepted by the people in a very hospitable way and sportive.