The Olympics offer spectators the opportunity to experience new sports around the world. In Indonesia, however, there are even more unique sporting events that people around the world may not have the opportunity to experience.
This traditional Indonesian pastime is both a competitive sport and a recreational activity. Egrang engages participants balancing on bamboo stilts and requires considerable core strength to remain standing. Practiced mainly in rural areas, the origin of the egrang is unknown, but the name translates directly to “beaded clogs made of all bamboo”.
The inhabitants of the village of Bawamatalou, in the south of Nias, keep the local tradition of fahombo alive. Fahombo means “stone jump” and is one of the most visually recognizable sports in Indonesia. Soldiers created fahombo during the tribal wars; it took considerable strength and agility to leap over the village’s forts, so fighters practiced jumping over tall piles of stones. The practice of jumping became a competition to see who could free the highest stone pile.
Karapan sapi takes place every year on the island of Madura from July to October. This traditional festival celebrates bull races, in which participants attach their bulls to wooden skates and compete with other bovine athletes. Historically, human runners adorned their bulls with gold decorations, but modern breeds are less whimsical.
Bakiak is a team sport that involves players putting their feet in the same ski-like wooden sandal. Team members must employ timing, teamwork, and leadership skills to move their axes faster than other teams. Bakiak is a popular spectator sport played at community events and festivals.
Pencak silat is a martial art rooted in Malay traditions, but each region of Indonesia practices their own unique variation of pencak silat. Athletes use their entire bodies while engaging in combat and must use the skills of grappling and boxing, as well as the use of weapons.
To know more:
Five traditional Indonesian sports
Ten unusual sports in Indonesia