Wulla Poddu or Holy Month is a festival related to Marapu, a cult of spirits of the ancestors. Wulla Poddu is held on Sumba in late October / early November and celebrated in a grand style.
We saw a special ceremony dedicated to horses and horsemen. It consisted of a series of rituals held inside a stone tomb circle, where the men and the horses were gathered. At first, we thought the animals were to be slaughtered and wanted to leave the place. Some of the horses thought it too, as they kicked and pranced. Then the old men came, with some herbs and incantations and the horses calmed down. In the end, the riders mounted their horses and rode away. We met them again in the evening, galloping through the town.
We also saw the hunters coming back with the wild pigs. We were told they go to the bush with the specially trained dogs and can’t come back empty-handed. And indeed, they returned full-handed – heaps of the dead animals were subsequently laid down in front of a hut. It explained the weird excitation among the village dogs we noticed before – they obviously knew what would happen and were anxious to be treated with the meat morsels.
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