STONE JUMPING ON NIAS ISLAND
Culturally speaking people in Nias kept their traditions almost intact. The Island would have been completely isolated for centuries if it weren’t because of the trading people use to practice among the nearby villages. Thus it is a priceless occasion to have a glimpse of one of the few megalithic cultures that has been reserved through ages upon ages by their local residents. Pleasure Island Surf camp highly recommends not leaving the Island without getting a flavor of the many dances and celebrations performed by the Tano Niha (Island’s native name) inhabitants.
There is one ritual that stands out among others. Stone Jumping or Hombo Batu was a virility ritual for boys in Nias Island at the twilight of their childhood. They literally had to jump over a 6 feet stone to prove their manhood. Originally this rock had spikes and sharp bamboo reeds on top so it was especially dangerous and led to injuries or even dead. Hombo Batu was the final step of a series of war training boys had to go through. Courageous young men had to demonstrate that they were ready to become warriors. Usually the jumping was performed by kids from the age of ten.
Though age was directly related to the stone height and consequently to the difficulty of the challenge.
Some archeologist affirms that this island conserves one of the last traces of a Megalithic culture. People in Nias perform the ceremony as it was done centuries ago. Villagers are dressed with the traditional yellow and black costumes, the scenario shaped only with the ancient houses, with the dramatically convex spired bricked roofs. You can still appreciate this everlasting ritual that gives you a vivid picture of a truly ancient culture not far at all from the Pleasure Surfcamp, in the Bawamotaluo town (South Nias).
Not just surfing in Nias Island but also traditional activities
This tradition started in Nias Island at a time when there were frequent battles between the neighboring tribes and villages. The endless story of Landlords (men) fighting over territory. Nias has been an emblematic example. This warlike culture is also the reason why the architecture of the island is so particular. High pointed roofs and walls with bamboo stakes everywhere was actually a defensive architectural strategy. These buildings serve even nowadays as the artistic natural stage for the jumping celebration.
The celebration is accompanied by the most refined pieces of folk music and dancing that were formerly played and performed to increase the warriors’ ferocity. You simply can’t miss this experience if you pass by the Pleasure Surfcamp.
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