Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest (PHOTOS)

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  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    A man falls off his horse during the two-day traditional Pasola war festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village of the Indonesian West Sumba province Feb. 16, 2012. Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu, to ask the blessings of the gods for a good harvest for the year for the rural people whose livelihoods are planting corns and rice. Picture taken Feb. 16, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    Sumbanese wooden houses are seen standing in a remote Kodi Pangedo village, where the two-day Pasola war festival is held, in the Indonesian West Sumba province Feb. 14, 2012. Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu, to ask the blessings of the gods for a good harvest for the year for the rural people whose livelihoods are planting corns and rice. Picture taken Feb. 14, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    Tribal elders walk during a ritual procession amidst the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's the West Sumba province, Feb. 17, 2012. Held on Feb. 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    Tribal elders stand in front of a house during a ritual procession amidst the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, Feb. 17, 2012. Held on Feb. 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    A man, armed with wooden spears, rides a horse as he prepares to take part in the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, Feb. 16, 2012. Held on Feb. 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    Men, armed with wooden spears, ride horses as they prepare to take a part in the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, Feb. 16, 2012. Held on Feb. 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest. Picture taken Feb. 16, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    Men, armed with wooden spears, ride horses as they prepare to take a part in the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, February 16, 2012. Held on February 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest. Picture taken February 16, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    A man riding a horse prepares to throw his wooden spears at his rival during the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, February 17, 2012. Held on February 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest. Picture taken February 17, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    A man riding a horse prepares to throw his wooden spears at his rival during the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, February 17, 2012. Held on February 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest. Picture taken February 17, 2012.
  • Ancient War Game Pasola Festival in Indonesia Seeks Blessings for Good Harvest
    A man riding a horse prepares to throw his wooden spears at his rival during the two-day Pasola War Festival in the remote Kodi Pangedo village, in Indonesia's West Sumba province, February 17, 2012. Held on February 16 and 17, Pasola is a ritual of the West Sumba people, a part of the local Sumba belief called Marapu in which the participants, whose livelihoods are dependent on their corn and rice crops, ask for the blessings of the gods for a good harvest. Picture taken February 17, 2012.
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For the remote West Sumba Regency in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, the month of February every year is an auspicious time when the natives seek blessings of the gods for a good harvest.

The two-day Pasola War Festival is an important ritual of the Sumba community as the livelihood of the natives is mainly dependent on their corn and rice crops.

The Pasola ritual is an ancient war game between two groups of 100 men from the Hill village and the lowland village, riding colorful decorated selected horses, flinging wooden spears at each other. Dressed in their traditional costumes, the Sumbanese men force the horses, which they ride bareback without a saddle, to run faster and make strategies on how to win war.

With the rest of the villagers judging the war game, the selected people attempt to defeat their opponents in the game. The word Pasola is reportedly derived from the terms Sola or Hola which means a kind of a long wooden stick used as a spear, flung on each other by two opponent groups of horsemen.

Start the slideshow for a glimpse of the unique Pasola Festival in Indonesia:

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