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The Sasak People

"There’s a definite “castaway” vibe here and a small resident population of Sasak people allows visitors a rare glimpse of traditional island life – one that has been largely lost in other parts of the region, due to the influx of tourists."



Sasak Village         

 The Gili Islands are mainly populated by the "Sasak". There are around 1500 people on these islands. This population group are fishermen from origin and come from the nearby Lombok. They live currently on tourism and fishing. This page therefore is mostly about the people, who came from Lombok or still live there.
Although Bali has greatly influenced Lombok, yet unlike in Hindu Bali, most Sasak embrace Islam. There is also a small minority whose faith is called Bodha, a syncretic belief of animism and Buddhism. Nonetheless, despite differences in religious beliefs, the Sasak live in harmony among themselves.
The Sasaks converted to Islam between the late 16th century to early 17th century, but it's a mixture between basic Islamic beliefs and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs.
 

The Sasak language is closely related to the languages of Bali and Sumbawa, and to most other languages of Western Indonesia more distantly.

The most ancient Sasak village on Lombok is the village of Bayan, but most frequented by visitors are the villages of Sade and Rembitan, close to Mataram. Here villagers disregard their modernising surroundings and continue to live in the old tradition. At Bayan, once a year a celebration of the ancient thatched mosque, called Bayan Beleq is held.
Houses in Sade are built in rows. But most prominent and typical to Lombok is the rice barn or “lumbung”, which stands raised on four wooden piles with a bonnet-shaped roof made of alang-alang or elephant grass. Rice is stored through a raised window.

 

The beruga or the ceremonial hall stands on six pillars, its roof is also covered with elephant grass, providing coolness in hot weather and warmth during cooler nights.
Houses or bale are divided into 3 sections, the kitchen, sleeping quarters and the living room. Dance and Drama on Lombok are intricately tied to cultural identity. Although the Sasak are deeply influenced by Bali and Java, yet the blend of cultures remain uniquely Lombok’s.
In the Islamic regions, the gamelan rebana using drums was developed, doing away with the bronze gamelan, yet retaining the original repertoire imitating the bronze gamelan instruments. Gamelan instruments, however, are still widely used across the island.


Weavings crafts

In the Islamic regions, the gamelan rebana using drums was developed, doing away with the bronze gamelan, yet retaining the original repertoire imitating the bronze gamelan instruments. Gamelan instruments, however, are still widely used across the island.
Most Sasak are farmers, some are laborers, some are fishermen and some are craftsmen. Weavings and earthenware crafts made by skilled workers can be found in several villages. Many of these are sold to tourists or even exported to Western countries. Many Sasak look for work in larger cities, both on Lombok and on other islands. Moral and ethical values are called tindih by the Sasak. They try to maintain values of good friendships and maintaining cultural forms of respect within the family, honouring their parents and acting politely when a guest.
In looking for a wife, many Sasak follow the custom of eloping, where the woman voluntarily allows herself to be "kidnapped" and hidden away somewhere for a while. After this, the "kidnapper" contacts the woman's family to negotiate the wedding terms and then the wedding ceremony is held.

 


Going to a wedding......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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