Lombok has a rich and enduring indigenous culture that has withstood the pressures of modernity remarkably well. The strong remnant culture and history of the Sasak people are one of the many unique attractions of the island. The island has a total population of 3,411,044 (as of the 2019 Census), of which 85% are indigenous Sasak people, whose origins are thought to have arisen from Java in the first millennium BC.
Other residents include an estimated 10–15% Balinese, with the small remainder being Tionghoa, Javanese, Sumbawanese, and Arab Indonesians. The Sasak people are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Balinese, but unlike the Hindu Balinese, the majority practice local Muslim faith and traditions.
Vacationing in another country might teach you some culture to overcome your politeness when you meet a local person or ask something when trouble happens.
Hereby, I give you some culture tip information when vacationing in Lombok Island, including how to adapt to the local people and some of the culture on Lombok Island you might not know.
Allow to do during vacation
- Smile and greet people, especially elders.
- Shake hands gently.
- Accept hospitality and food. You do not have to eat and drink, but it is polite to ACCEPT.
- Say goodbye and thank you when you leave.
- Dress modestly. Women should keep their upper arms and thighs covered.
- Bend down and walk around seated people when you need to pass.
- Use only your right hand to eat and to hand objects or money to someone.
- Be sure to sit at the same level as other people.
- Wear a sarong when entering the house of Melokaq (the custom leader) and when participating in ritual and custom ceremonies.
Don’t Do it.
- Enter houses, buildings, or villages without being invited.
- Wear shoes inside a house.
- Point at people with your finger. Don’t ever use your foot to point at objects or people.
- Point the bottom of your feet directly at people while sitting on the floor.
- Touch anyone’s head.
- Step over people or food on the floor.
- Eat with your left hand, or use your left hand to give or accept objects or money.
- Raise your voice, especially in anger.
- Eat and Drink outside during Ramadhan month (fasting month).
- Smoke outside during Ramadhan month( fasting month).
Language to be known
- Selamat pagi = good morning
- Selamat siang = good day
- Selamat sore = Good afternoon
- Selamat malam = Good evening
- Selamat tidur = Good night
- Sampai jumpa = good bye
- Permisi = Excuse me
- Selamat makan = good apatite
- Hati-Hati = be careful
- Pelan Pelan = Slowly
- Bisa saya bantu = May I help you?
- Selamat datang = welcome
- Mahal = Expensive
Lombok Traditional Dance
The Gendang Beleq is a dance. In ancient times, this dance was usually performed to accompany or welcome the soldiers who were going on or coming back from the battlefield. Nowadays, it’s used to welcome important guests or for wedding ceremonies.
Kecimol is a kind of traditional music. The dancers are playing their instruments and singing. They used simple instruments, such as Bamboo flutes. gambuss, mandolin, rencek, and small drum.
Two young men competing physically conduct the Presean. They have a stick and shield in their hands. This performance is also led by the referee, who has the right to decide who is the winner or the loser.
Gagak means the crow births, and mandik means take a bath. So this dance illustrates the crow bird’s happiness when they find a spring and take a bath because they feel hot. This dance will be performed, at a minimum, by four people.
The Gandrung is a dance about love and courtship. Gandrung means being in love with or longing for It’s a social dance, usually performed by both young men and women. A young girl dances by herself for a while before choosing a male partner from the audience to join her.
Lombok Wedding culture (merarik)
There are many wedding traditions in Indonesia. This diversity is based on the diversity of tribes and customs in this country. One of the wedding traditions known on Lombok Island is called Kawin Culik or Kawin Lari.
The kidnapping marriage tradition is well known among the Sasak people in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. For the people of the Sasak tribe, the tradition of marrying a kidnapper is known as Merarik, which is the local wisdom of the tribe.
Definition of Kidnapped Marriage The Sasak people call this kidnapping marriage Merarik, which is a word in the Sasak language. Etymologically, merarik comes from the word of the Sasak language.
Apart from attracting, there is also the word pelaik”ang (take away), which means taking away in the Sasak language. In the context of marriage or kidnapping marriage, merarik is defined as a man who takes away a woman to be his wife.
The term merarik, meaning an abducted marriage, is understood by people in almost all of Lombok Island. However, there are still some areas that mention the term in the accent and pronunciation debate.
Mating is usually done at night or after sunset. The eloping of the girl marks the beginning of a series of wedding rituals. Merage practice is not allowed to be held at night, and there are customary sanctions for those who violate it.
Before the procession, the bride and groom will usually agree in advance regarding the hours and days to do it. The agreement between the bride and groom is the initial stage of marriage, which is called a midang.
The next stage is called pelaikang, that is, carrying the girl away from her house. At the appointed time, the young man would come to the woman’s house secretly and take her away.
The bride will be taken away to the husband’s house, where she will continue the process, called selabar. The man’s family will report to the village of origin of the prospective bride that merarik has occurred, then make discussion about the next agreement, sorong serah and nyongkolan (the Wedding Party).
Type Lombok Clothes
Kabaya Lambung Clothes (Women)
Kebayas made of woven fabric are called Lambung. The traditional clothing in NTB that must be known is the type of kebaya worn along the waist with loose short sleeves. What makes this outfit unique is that the base color is black with a ‘V’ cut collar. For subordinates, the traditional clothing for the stomach is a sarong.
The majority of the motifs depict flora. An anteng belt is used to tie the sarong. accessories in the form of round earrings. Made from palm leaves with silver plating. Lambung traditional clothing from the Sasak tribe is complete with wrist and ankle bracelets.
Pegon Clothe (Men)
Pegon traditional clothes are worn by Sasak men. In the upper part, this outfit is influenced by Javanese culture and European fashion styles. The bottom, wrapped in songket cloth, also known as Leang or Dodot, is complete with a kris inserted.
The bottom is also covered with wire cloth. The length is up to the ankles. The wrapped fabric has a mixed motif. The philosophy of the traditional clothing of West Nusa Tenggara from the Sasak tribe, especially the Wiron section, symbolizes humility. The head covering, called Sapuq, means respect for God, the Creator, and keeping the mind clean.
The Balinese of Lombok are friendly people with a strong sense of community. In fact, in some places, the community name banjar is so tight that they hold feasts where everyone is split into groups before proceeding to eat from the same plate. This is known as megibung, an ancient tradition that emerged in the 17th century in feudal Bali.
Eating from the same plate is really fun and connects people. The plate is usually a large, circular tray with a huge portion of rice, meat, and vegetables. Each group (usually 7-8 people) gets one plate, and they have to sit around the plate on the floor.
Then everyone has to eat with their hands. When eating from the same plate, there are some unwritten rules to consider. One must first take a reasonable handful of rice. After that, they can take bits of meat and vegetables to put inside the handful. Then they can eat. If there’s any food left in the hand, one must discard it.
Make sure that you don’t put the food back on the tray! Other rules include not laughing, talking, or making loud noises while eating. Eating must be observed with reverence and silence. Only when everyone has finished can the event end. “What started together must end together.”
Culture-wise, megibung is an inclusive activity that encourages togetherness. Back in feudal Bali, the caste system was heavily observed. Royalty did not mingle with commoners. Social life was separated by invisible barriers. But the tradition of megibung aimed to break down these barriers and build a sense of togetherness among the people.
Today, megibung is practiced in many villages in Lombok, especially after religious ceremonies or wedding parties in the Lombok Hindu community named Banjar.