ABOUT SABU ISLAND
Almost the whole year Sawu is dry, this far east in Nusa Tenggara the dry and hot winds blowing from the Australian continent have a major impact to the local climate. There is not much agriculture here, only small patches around the houses. The island has a lot of unspoiled landscape with beautiful beaches, crystal clear water and a very hospitable people. Sawu is also like other islands in Nusa Tenggara known for it's "ikat", woven textiles that can take weeks to produce.
APPROACHING THE PEOPLE OF SABU
THE ISLAND The local people are warm and friendly people who totally enjoy interacting with visitors to their Islands who are interested in their culture. This affords the visitor a chance to see at first hand the collection and processing of the Lontar palm juice. Try the drink for yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised with its sweet but refreshing taste. Later on in the evening, try the fermented juice or "Laru", but not too much as it can be intoxicating. Also take the time to see the intricate processes involved in the weaving of Ikat cloth. Once you have observed Sabunese life up close and personal you will no doubt be impressed with their skills and determination to make the most of their little slice of paradiseOF LONTAR PALM which they call tree of life.
The lontar palm. From the lontar blossoms, a sweet liquid,
tuak, is tapped. The highly nutritious tuak can be drunk in its raw form,
fermented into an alcoholic beverage or made into sugar, either way it
serves as a food supplement, as rice is saved for feasts and special
occasions. The lontar trunk provides wood for boats and traditional houses.
It's fan-like leaves are used as roofing on the traditional houses. Even the dead are
wrapped in the lontar leaves. These leaves are also plaited into baskets, in
which offerings to the ancestors are places at ceremonies. And thought of as
gifts received from the God of the Earth to be given to descendant of the
sun to ensure a prosperous harvest.
Sawu is known as a temporary stopover for the famous explorer Captain Cook. The story said that the great
explorer named Captain Cook rested longer than intended, since he was
greeted by the locals with smiles and refreshing drinks of fermented lontar
house, divided into male and female parts, a one family dwelling and forms
part of a single clan village protected by a stone wall.
Sabu or Sawu, or locally called Rai Hawu, is an island of Kupang Regency located in the mid of Indonesian Ocean and Savu Sea, its occupies an area of 460,78 Km Square with population of about 78.726 people. And consist of community clan called ‘Udu’ (Paternal group) live in several areas among others: Seba, Mania, LiaE, Mehara, Dimu and Rai Djua. Each Udu consists of a clan or sub-Udu called Kerogo.This island can reached within 45 minutes by plane (twice a week on Tuesday and Thurday), by boat takes about 12 hours (twice a week on Monday and Wednesday).
Forming village system for savunese cannot be separated from the meaning of its island called ‘Rai Hawu’. This island is described as an animal lies its head in the west and its tail in the east. Therefore, the head or western part is Haba and LiaE in the middle or chest and belly, while Dimu in the East as its tail. The island is also described as a boat, the hilly and mountainous area of western part or Mehara is categorized as raised platform at the front part of ship (duru rai) while Dimu which is a bit flat and low is categorized as ship stern (wui rai).
Savunese days of a week are: Monday (lodo Anni), Tuesday (Lodo Due), Wednesday (Lodo Tallu), Thursday (Lodo Appa), Friday (Lodo Lammi), Saturday (Lodo Anna) and Sunday (Lodo Pidu). Other known concept such as: days before(Lodo ne), nowdays (Lodo de), and tomorrow (Barri rai). Those days form a week and 4 or 5 weeks form a month (Warru) and 12 months form a year (tou).
The weather of this island has a long dry season from March till November. In general, Savunese realizes two seasons: Hot season which is called ‘Waru Wadu’ and rainy season which is called ‘Waru Jeali’. There is a transitional period between the two. There are also ceremonies related to what do people do for living on each season.
Ceremonies during Hot season (Waru Wadu)
(1) Calling for palm juice;
(2) Processing palm sugar;
(3) Sending Palm boat.
Prior to next season (rainy), there are transitional season’s ceremonies:
(1) Separate the two seasons;
(2) Rejects disasters;
In Waru Jalai (rainy season) there are three ceremonial traditions as:
(1) Preparing cultivated area and beg for rain;
(2) Planting ceremony
(3) Ceremony after harvest.
The gongs are named according to the way they beat the gongs and the following is an example of gong accompanying ‘Ledo Hawu’ dance:
‘Leko’ is the first two gongs beaten one after another, ‘Didala ae, Didala iki’ and ‘Gaha’ are three medium size gongs (bass gongs) beaten successively, ‘Wopeibha’ and ‘Abho’ or two gongs beaten accompanying ‘Leko’ gong, ‘Wo Pahelli’ or two gongs beaten accompanying ‘Leko’ and ‘Paibho Abho.’
SAVUNESE LADIES’ WEDDING CEREMONY
Proposing process for Savu communities are divided into stages as;
(1) Spoken day or ‘hari lodo’ is the day when male’s group with a spokesman ‘mae miki’ go to the female’s house to talk about a Marriage customs which is called “pell’. The male’s messenger bring with them ‘Ru kenana’, special place for betel and areca nut as a proposing symbol. If the female’s relatives take the offer means the proposal is accepted. Sometime they directly talk about the dowry or what is called ‘Kebue.’
(2) At this stage the male’s group offers ‘Rukenana Ae’ (big betel-nuts) and a huge pig to the mother-in-law’s house.
(3) At this stage, the male’s party brings ‘kenoto’ through a ceremony of ‘pemaho ru kenana ae’ and a life pig to the female’s parents ‘ house.
(4) The ‘kenoto’ is opened (boka kenoto) by the female’s relatives witnessed by all ladies of the ethnics who helped at the time the lady was born.
(5) The fifth step is ‘Nga’a Kebue’ that is eating together at the male’s house to collect all things for dowry.
(6) The sixth step is the male’s relatives bring articles for dowry to the female’s house.
(7) The male’s relatives bring the lady to the male’s house.
(8) Next step after the wedding night, the bridegroom with all the relatives brings the bride to her parents’ house to run a ceremony called ‘maho amu’ (entering the house). At this time, officially the lady leaves her ethnics.
TRADITIONAL EVENT AND TOURISM OBJECT IN SABU
Pahoru/Wodho take place in Sub Regency of Sabu Barat which about 1 kilometres from the main city of Sabu which called Seba. This ceremony take about a week before harvest time, this ceremony held involved several group by casting each other feet in the opening area.
KOWAHOLE DANCE and ceremony take place in Sabu. Kowahole Dance. Kowa means boat or ship, hole is ritual for Sabunese following the Savunese callender in Savu tribe. This is ritual is like thank givings ceremony by sending a few part of harvest to the place of where the anchestor soul are, and probably where the gods are residing. This dance is also chance of begging apologizing for all misbehaviour in the past, and ask blessing for next season.
There are three boats being used in this ceremony, the first boat is to bring their product that just being harvested, the second boat is to delete stranger footprint (fomerly, outsider are thought to bring bad destiny for island, and are not allowed in Sabu island), and the last boat is to bring offering for the anchestor soul.
This dance following the rithym of songs sung by male voice in Savunese language and its a kind a mass dance
LEDO DANCE is a dance from Sabu island which normally held as part of the funeral ceremony. The three couple dance tremendeously according to the rithym of music, and the sometimes dancer swords touch each other according to the rithym, and happy smile of the dancer is part of the attraction.
Ledo is a very expensive funeral ceremony, this ceremony take place for nine days and nine nights with a sacrificing of animal for each night. and surely this ceremony held for the king family or for the rich family.
HABA POORAI is thank giving for the harvest by symbolical way of planting sorghum and other activities following the rithym.
This dance is a mass dance which involved their spectacles in circle, making sound with foot steps according rithym of the music and song from a male voice.
PLACE OF INTEREST IN SABU
Namata located in the village of Railolo in Western Sabu about 3 kilometres from Seba, the central town of Sabu. In this village peoples may enjoy the wonder of megalitic tombs and traditional houses dan traditional village.
A traditional village with the ceremonial site. There is also a market
selling the various weaving products
Jariwala in the village of Railolo in the Sub District West Sabu. The distance from the main city is abou 2 miles away. This place is a special place for any traditional celebration and there an active traditional event organiser.
Tenihau located in Meba, Western part of Sabu, about two miles from main city. Here is people can enjoy the palace of the Sabu kings.
A traditional village in East Sabu, 15 Kms from Seba. There is an old fort,
where you can enjoy the ritual ceremonies.