Unique Sports in Indonesia
The Olympics provide an opportunity for viewers to learn about new sports around the world. In Indonesia, however, there are even more unique sporting events that people across the globe may not get the opportunity to experience.
This traditional Indonesian pastime is both a competitive sport and recreational activity. Egrang involves participants balancing on bamboo stilts and requires considerable core strength to stay upright. Primarily practiced in rural areas, the origin of egrang is unknown, but the name translates directly to “beaded clogs made of all bamboo.”
The villagers of Bawamatalou, South Nias keep the local tradition of fahombo alive. Fahombo means “stone jumping,” and is one of the most visually recognizable sports in Indonesia. Soldiers created fahombo during tribal wars; it took considerable strength and agility to jump over the village forts, so fighters would practice by jumping over tall piles of stones. The jumping practice became a competition to see who could clear the tallest stone stack.
Karapan sapi takes place every year on the island of Madura from July to October. This traditional festival celebrates bull racing, where participants attach their bulls to wooden skids and race other bovine athletes. Historically, the human racers would adorn their bulls with gold decorations, but modern races are less extravagant.
Bakiak is a team sport that involves players putting their feet in the same ski-like, wooden sandal. Team members need to employ timing, teamwork, and leadership skills to move their planks faster than the 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 its own unique variation of pencak silat. Athletes use their entire bodies while engaging in combat and must utilize skills from grappling and boxing, along with using weapons.