Knowing More About Culture of Sasak in Lombok

Lombok is one of the islands in Indonesia that tourists must visit, especially after the disaster that hit this past year. Injuries and deaths following the earthquakes from July to August 2018 did not dampen the morale of the natives. Hope is revived with all the redevelopment of Lombok in the affected area. Lombok hopes to rebuild its own territory and improve livelihoods through tourism.

I am eager to understand how well Lombok tourism has grown rapidly a year later. Last week I visited several areas in Lombok with several wealthy writers and a young blogger from Singapore. With us in the van, there are tourism officials who want to research Lombok with us to make sure we have fantastic things day and night.

What’s Lombok like? Let’s start with the big picture. Initially, the area was 4,514 square kilometers, roughly the size of Bali. It’s also located next door, either to the east (or about a five-hour boat ride across the choppy waters from Padang Bai). But that’s where the similarities end. Lombok has its own culture.

Most of the population is the “Tribe of the Sasak People” or even the Sasak people, who are thought to have migrated from Java and Sumbawa. About 3.6 million Sasak men and women live together on this island, which can be found in West Nusa Tenggara (West), Indonesia. Nearly 80 percent of them are Muslim. That is a stark comparison with the nearby island of Bali, where Hinduism reigns.

The rowdy meso Sasak that intrigued me made mental notes to dig deeper. However, as explained by Pak Karyadi Duyung, a local tour guide, I didn’t need to move much as we passed the schoolgirls from the tudong chatting with each other from the road Sasak men and women saying “Sasak!”. However, you will find dialect versions based on where they are on the stairs. The Sasak speech is quite close to what is spoken in Bali and the island of Sumbawa east of Lombok in the Lesser Sunda island chain.

In addition, I learned by looking at the boutiques and antiques of the Sasak people, which have their motifs in art and fashion. This can be found on the exquisite piece of woven fabric known as songket. Such things can also be seen in pottery. If you stop by the Islamic Center, which is famous for its high rise (measuring 99m), the Sasak theme is quite magnificent in the interior decoration of the prayer room.

Background of the Sasak Tribe

Historically it is said that the Prime Minister of Majapahit, the governor of Gajah Mada dominated Lombok. At the beginning of the 16th century, Lombok was defeated by the Balinese Gelgel kingdom, and this attracted a wave of Balinese people to Lombok and their traditions. Today, around 10-15 percent of Lombok’s population are Balinese. In addition, you will find a lot of minorities living in Lombok, such as Chinese-Peranakan, Javanese, Sumbawa, and Indonesian Arabic.

Between the late 16th and early 17th centuries, there was also a conversion of religion to Islam. A mixture of spiritual beliefs then emerged: fundamental Muslim and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs gave rise to several other ideas – both Wetu Telu.

Even Wetu Telu, which means “three times”, is essentially a conventional Sasak man and woman notion. However, currently, it is concentrated in Bayan, a city in northwest Lombok. The Wetu Telu identifies the number of prayer times each day, not the stricter Five Times or even the Wetu Lima meaning “five times”, as orthodox Muslims practice. Guide Karyadi informs us that there is a village called Malacca from North Lombok, which was directly affected by the preaching of Islam in Melaka, West Malaysia.

People who practice pre-Islamic beliefs can also be referred to as Sasak Boda, speaking to an early idea there named Boda, which is a cult that cannot be explained (and is not more related to Buddhism). A temple in the village of Pura Batu Bolong brings Hindus into it.

Lombok Cultural Celebration

Back in Lombok, the pace of life here will be slow. Just like on Gili Trawangan (the largest of the three Gili off the coast of Lombok), you may have a rocky “chidokar” or horse-drawn carriage at the market for your resort. In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Lombok has a main road and heavy traffic. So it becomes active, noisy and also a bit dirty. That’s the exact reason why roads in Mataram, the provincial capital, are closed for 2 hours on Sunday mornings, and you’ll see people walking around instead of screaming.

Lombok has a designation for its mosque property. That’s because there are more than 1000 mosques! The more crowded prayer rooms – the Mushollah – are all responsible for fast prayers in small groups. Therefore, a devout Muslim will not go to prayers until Friday, but instead, to an appropriate mosque such as the Muslim Center. The cracks with this spiritual construction in Mataram were closed, as we can see by assumptions. People still flock to pray, and tourists are welcome to linger in the aisles and ramble on (although it may not be the prayer hall itself). If you look at the big drum at the entrance, you will see another aspect of the Sasak civilization. Young guides who speak excellent English can help you – just make sure to tip them.

I am thrilled with the clay pottery in Banyu Mulek, West Lombok. On a girl’s suggestion, I sprayed some lavender oil on the turtles together with my bare hands and also enjoyed the adventure. He explained that he and his friends happened to be making such a thing for decades, and that it was then burned from the oven to defrost.

There are several pottery shops in Lombok that will catch your eye. You’ll find waist-high vases using eggshell prints, which can be very different. I was attracted by the tea light candle holder that could easily fit into my backpack.

Before you plan a trip to Lombok, be sure to read more about Lombok and Indonesia by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.