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Tarik Batu

The megalithic culture in Sumba originated about 4,500 years ago. This tradition is still alive today, and not just for supporters of the Marapu faith. The megalithic tombs are rectangular and similar to altars or tables, closed or open, with 4 feet. The material is limestone or concrete. Even today many have a weight of many tons. The blocks are decorated with scenes from the life of the deceased and his life after death according to the Marapu faith. In order to carry these stones to the right place, you need the Tarik Batu = stone-pulling ceremony.

Before the stone-pulling ceremony, there are a number of rituals like "watu pogo", to grant planning permission to fetch the stone from a quarry or rock. Another ritual called "watu Tingi" serves to ensure success of the stone-pulling. Such a stone is then pulled with lianas over banana trunks over long distances until it has finally reached its final position and is then raised. Stone pulling is hard work for many people and sometimes takes many days.

The pulling of stones is accompanied with rhythmical, encouraging songs. The men are responsible for pulling, women for catering. A corresponding number of water buffaloes, cows and pigs is necessary for offering. In such ceremonies one can today use trucks for transport, if the distance to the grave site is too far, or a nylon rope, if the lianas are too weak. But the main thing is that all the participants have fun.

Following this ceremony, the grave stones are decorated, depending on the material, with carvings, sculptures or kitschy bathroom tiles.