Marapu adalah sebuah aliran kepercayaan lokal yang dianut oleh masyarakat di Pulau Sumba. Aliran ini ini merupakan kepercayaan yang memuja nenek moyang dan leluhur. Lebih dari setengah penduduk Sumba memeluk aliran kepercayaan ini

Pemeluk aliran kepercayaan ini percaya bahwa kehidupan di dunia ini hanya sementara dan bahwa setelah akhir zaman mereka akan hidup kekal, di dunia roh, di surga Marapu, yang dikenal sebagai Prai Marapu.Agama Marapu adalah “kepercayaan asli” yang masih hidup dan dianut oleh orang Sumba di Pulau Sumba, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Adapun yang dimaksud dengan aliran kepercayaan Marapu ialah sistem keyakinan yang berdasarkan kepada pemujaan arwah-arwah leluhur (ancestor worship). Dalam bahasa Sumba arwah-arwah leluhur disebut Marapu , berarti “yang dipertuan” atau “yang dimuliakan”. Karena itu kepercayaan yang mereka anut disebut Marapu pula. Marapu ini banyak sekali jumlahnya dan ada susunannya secara hirarki yang dibedakan menjadi dua golongan, yaitu Marapu dan Marapu Ratu. Marapu ialah arwah leluhur yang didewakan dan dianggap menjadi cikal-bakal dari suatu kabihu (keluarga luas, clan), sedangkan Marapu Ratu ialah marapu yang dianggap turun dari langit dan merupakan leluhur dari para marapu lainnya, jadi merupakan marapu yang mempunyai kedudukan yang tertinggi. Kehadiran para marapu di dunia nyata diwakili dan dilambangkan dengan lambang-lambang suci yang berupa perhiasan mas atau perak (ada pula berupa patung atau guci) yang disebut Tanggu Marapu. Lambang-lambang suci itu disimpan di Pangiangu Marapu, yaitu di bagian atas dalam menara uma bokulu (rumah besar, rumah pusat) suatu kabihu. Walaupun mempunyai banyak Marapu yang sering disebut namanya, dipuja dan dimohon pertolongan, tetapi hal itu sama sekali tidak menyebabkan pengingkaran terhadap adanya Yang Maha Pencipta. Tujuan utama dari upacara pemujaan bukan semata-mata kepada arwah para leluhur itu sendiri, tetapi kepada Mawulu Tau-Majii Tau (Pencipta dan Pembuat Manusia), Tuhan Yang Maha Esa.



The Sumba island is wellknown for its sandalwood, wild horses, incredible megalithic tombs, traditional dan primitive villages, typical hand woven textile (ikat weaving), and still untouchable beaches.

Capital of West Sumba ( 1 hour drive from the Hotel). A neat little town in West part of Sumba island. right in town are very traditionnal villages you will see old graves carved in motifs of buffalo horns, man heads, horses, nude men or women symbolizing social status or wealth of the people (megalithic tombs of Kadung Tana, Watu Karagata, and Bulu Peka Mila). Tarung Village is an important ceremonial center . Local market is pleasant and display indigenous stuff

Traditional and prmitive villages and old megalithic tombs , Pasola in every March.
Sodan village is a very important village for Marapu , there you can find holy houses (rumah nyale-rumah wula podu) and sacred places, also a drum made from human skin that can only be showed on certain occasions and in the presence of `ratos` (priest/chief). The date for Wula podu and Pasola Lamboya is decided by rato of this village, the plain on a high ridge of line of hills (the panorama is fantastic).
At Patiala is the plain where Pasola Lamboya take place, you can reach many traditional villages off the beaten path: an old anchor probably from a Portuguese vessel amazingly kept in a high hill village; holy house with eight carved bird's heads; meet ratos and see one of the two horses which first open Pasola on February. Every where around you will be welcome as if you were a member of their family; you are staying at Mr Ali`s Hotel and Mr Ali has been introduced as member of their community and rebaptized with a local name. Many beautiful ballades inland or along the coast to pristine remote beaches will gratify your days . You can often get ceremonies in Lamboya, Wula Podu,Topeng/Magowo, Pajura take place in October-November, Pasola in February, Pacuan in July-August. Yawu, weddings and burials all around the year.
Starting from your hotel , you will see cocoa plantation, cross a gorge watching kids washing and riding buffalos , discover a 300 year old megalithic tombs on the beachside, a pretty natural harbour, traditional villages and tombs, fine beaches and quite cheap wooden handicrafts .You will return by another road through teakwood forest, watch a very strong waterfall spurting out of a cave and facing rice fields. Pasola Kodi is in every February.

Pasola is the name of a war tournament played by two groups of Sumbanese men riding decorated horses and flinging wooden spears at each other - really unique in the world .
Some villages of Anakalang are known for the largest megalithic tombs in Sumba. Anakalang is the site of the Purung Takadonga Ratu, an important mass marriage festival held every two years, on a date determined by the full moon.

Capital of East Sumba, It is known with the traditional Ikat weaving(Prailiu) and some megalithic tombs are also found on this area.

Sumbanese houses,stone tombs and pretty original weaving called "Pahikung".
Rende village have several traditional style buffalo horn adorned Sumba houses and a number of massive carved stone graves. Here you can meet a well known King who explains the meaning of symbolic ikat motifs to local children to perpetuate traditions. This is also a great place to see high quality traditional Sumba Ikat.

Ikat Weaving
Ikat textile in Sumba are worked an exchanged at important ceremonies to show one's social status. At the funerals, the most exquisite textiles would be placed in the grave for use in the after world.

Matayangu & Lai Popu are large and beautiful waterfall located between Anakalang and Wanokaka, Access is through wooded hills. Manupeu National Park(Anakalang) is very interesting for flora and fauna (Sumba has many unique birds). Laputi (near Tarimbang) is a high waterfall above which is a lake with eels that you can feed. For the bravest ones, in some caves, you will cope with bats & not dangerous snakes The last crocodiles of Sumba are very difficult to see in the north part of West Sumba . Wild pigs are hunted with spears by valorous warriors full mud coated

Animist belief still very vivid near Hotel Sumba Nautil Resort and Lamboya region.
The essence of Marapu religion is the belief in spirituals forces including God, spirits and ancestors. Dead people can influence the world of the living and the living perform rituals in order to satisfy ancestors and sometimes ask to them for help or agreement .Humans cannot appeal to God the creator so Ancestors are placed on earth mediated through people who get special powers (concentrated in certain places or objects) . Those people are "Rato" (priests) , Dodo and Tahuli who are able to speak the spiritual language (Bahasa adat) of Ancestors. Wula Podu, Topeng, Magowo, Pajura, Pasola, Yawu are some of main Marapu ceremonies.

WULA PODU - Holy month for Marapu.
From full moon of October to full moon of November there are many prohibitions; if infringed ancestor spirits will strongly punish the infringer. At the end of Wula podu month, many ceremonies take place:

In several villages of Lamboya, Patiala, Loli drums are beating all night long and the day after occurs the ceremony. Marapu rituals are performed by a rato, women dance and a kind of sorcerer wearing a mask amuse or frighten the audience.

A big crowd gather at the delta of a river (Lamboya) for Marapu rituals and collective traditional fishing.

Ritual boxing for men. It seems like they get up to all that was forbidden during the holy period! During this period, rato of Sodan village decide of the date for Pasola Lamboya.

Yawu is ritual ceremony that take place at night to get help from the ancestors. Women dance around a fire in the middle of graveyard, drums beat, and the mysterious dialogue with ancestors begin :" Tahuli" speaks as advocate for humans, ancestors speak through the voice of "Dodo", all the dialogue is in a spiritual language(Bahasa adat) . When somebody is ill, they think ancestors are angry with this person. So they want to know why and they ask to ancestors what to do to calm down the wrath of Marapu - sometimes it works! Also when they want to built a new traditional house, Humans have to ask for agreement to Marapu.

First the men have to "knock at the door": go to the girl's village and bring animals to her father. He must comes two times again, giving much buffalos and horses at each time. Finally, he is obliged to offer a huge number of cattle and horses to be allowed to take away the girl. If it is not enough, the girl stay in her family; that's a great deal and a lot of money (or debts) to get a wife in Sumba!
Men have to bring horses, buffalos, gold and metalwork; bride have to bring pigs, dogs, ivory and textiles. Weddings are absolutely impossible between some clan which are in bad terms, even in modern times.

Death is the more important event for Sumbanese and the dead men must enter in the afterworld with all he needs. The body is dressed with several textiles and the wake last some days. During this time relatives have gathered and brought gifts (mostly animals). The last day relatives have an endless talk to determinate the value of gifts: they are bound to a system of swaps and debts all their life. Then they slaughter some of animals one of which is a horse that the dead man's spirit will ride in the afterworld. The body is buried with things needed and symbols of wealth. At 19th century, slaves were still sacrificed to follow and serve the king in the afterworld.

Horse races began in July and final take place in August. Those races are important for personal prestige and a good way to get money (bets are high).

A jamboree of traditional dances, costumes, music and songs occurs every year . You will see Kataga dance (a war dance that men perform with long knives and shields) and Negu dance performed by women.