“Did I hear that right?” I asked Sheila.
“They have to kidnap their brides and that they polish their floors with cow dung?”
She smiled and nodded. I was too busy taking photos and videos of the performances that I ended up not really listening to the village’s tourist guide. Sasak Sade is one of Lombok’s indigenous villages. And also the first stop of #TripofWonders in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
A dramatic and musical welcome to Sasak Sade
As soon as the bus doors opened, we could hear the music coming from the village. We were welcomed with a traditional musical ensemble. A colorful scarf was also hung around our necks as we entered. Curious about what will happen next, we gathered around the clearing and waited.
Soon enough, two men wearing an identical headdress, white shirt, and batik wrapped around their hips appeared. They were also both carrying two colorful large drums with a wooden frame that we later learned were called Gendang Beleq.
The two drummers faced each other, dramatically looking like they were going into a confrontation. As they played the drums, they were accompanied by the ensemble. The sound of drums, cymbals, going and flute combined into an energetic melody that roused us from the midday stupor.
In the olden times, Gendang Beleq was played on important occasions. But more importantly to welcome and bid goodbye soldiers to and from the battlefield.
WHERE TO STAY IN LOMBOK: GOLDEN TULIP MATARAM
Brief History of Sasak Sade
The tourist guide came next, giving a brief introduction in what Sasak Sade Village is all about. According to him, the Sasak are the native people of Lombok. In fact, 700 people are currently residing in the village. And it is not a museum nor only for the tourists. But it is a real village that has been inhabited by the indigenous people of Lombok for a long time.
He also mentioned that no outsiders live here. As such, they tend to marry their cousins. And marriage the Sasak way is unique. You have to kidnap your chosen bride! It’s not kidnapping like in the movies, though. There are rules and traditions that must be upheld throughout the kidnapping process. And if the kidnapping is successful, discussions between all parties proceed, leading to the marriage ceremony. The bride’s family sees the “kidnapping” as a sign of respect for their daughter.
Tari Petuk Dance
Two boys identical face paint and outfit took the stage and started their dance. The tourist guide mentioned earlier that this is a dance performed before circumcision ceremonies.
They danced around each other with their hands waving to the rhythm of the ensemble.
#TripofWonders Day 6: Lombok Island ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ The young boys of Sasak Sade Village, located in Rembitan, District Pujut. They danced a traditional dance before this shot, about circumcision. The village is famous for preserving the Sasak culture. There are around 700 people living in the village. Did you know that they use buffalo dung to make their floors shiny? 😁 #WonderfulIndonesia #Lombok #WestNusaTenggara @indtravel #PSwanderlust
Two men dressed as warriors came onstage next. With their rattan sticks and cowhide shield, they playfully fought each other. Turns out, this was only a demonstration of what to come. Two shirtless warriors replaced them and the performance became more exciting. You can really hear from the thwack of the rattan to the shield how powerful the blow was. You can also see that blows taken by the other guy. It became even more intense when at one point, they were going to hit the audience. The referees were quick to rescue, though.
Two shirtless warriors replaced them and the performance became more exciting. You can really hear from the thwack of the rattan to the shield how powerful the blow was. You can also see that blows taken by the other guy. It became even more intense when at one point, they were going to hit the audience. The referees were quick to rescue, though.
It all ended when the other guy ran away. In old times, the fight could get bloody. Luckily, it’s all for show now.
Tari Amaq Tempengus
The last performance was definitely the most entertaining one. Based on his face paint, he definitely looked like the court jester. Dancing to the beat of the ensemble’s music, he also made funny gestures. And went around the audience, drawing laughs and chuckles.
Sasak Sade Village Tour
After the performances, we were given free time to go around the village.
You’ll walk along streets composed mostly of shops selling textiles, souvenirs, and accessories. But the village is big, and one could get lost in it if you go far.
It was also interesting to see the inside of a traditional Sasak house. The floor is made from clay and periodically polished with cow dung. This tradition is done to ward off the mosquitoes. Too bad I wasn’t able to witness the application of cow dung. But amazingly, there was no smell of cow dung on the dry floor. One will also notice that there are only two rooms inside the house. The inner room is both a kitchen and a sleeping quarter for the single girls.
Their houses are also made from dried grass roofs, wooden frame, and bamboo walls. Reminiscent of typical nipa huts here in the Philippines.
The women of Sasak are taught to weave since they are young. They say that a girl cannot marry if she doesn’t know how to weave. Their traditional woven cloth, Ikat, is born of a labor-intensive process. The whole process of dyeing and weaving can take months to finish a high-quality product.
Prices of the textiles for sale vary depending on the kind of weave and dyeing process.
Aside from the weaving, they also live on agriculture. The men do the farming of course. They store their rice and other food in a building called “lumbung.” You’ll definitely notice the rice granary too because it stands higher than the rest of the houses.
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR FIRST DAY IN LOMBOK:
The tour around the village is but a glimpse into their daily lives. And although it may look touristy, one must understand that this is also their livelihood. And that they are also doing this to preserve their culture and traditions.
So if you’re tired of the beaches in nearby Gili, head towards Sasak Sade for a different experience. One that will immerse you into the unique, colorful and musical culture of the Sasak of Lombok.
Note: When buying from the stores, haggle but don’t haggle too low. I highly suggest that you take into consideration that the money that you pay will certainly go a long way for them.
Disclaimer: I was invited to be a part of the #TripofWonders tour in September 2016 by the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia for Wonderful Indonesia. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own.
Do you like to know about a place’s history and culture? What do you think of Sasak Sade Village?