Stone Jumping, Hombo Batu Nias

Nias is located in Nias Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Like the other places in Indonesia, Nias also has its own traditional culture for a boy to sign that he is already in maturity. This tradition is called Hombo Batu. Hombo Batu Nias is also called as Fahombo or stone jumping. Since a boy of Nias tribe in 10 years old, he is ready to take his turn in doing hombo batu which is more than 2 meters high. If they can do it, they will be considered as a mature adult who can get married and join the military.

The Hombo Batu Nias media is made from stones which are shaped like a monument of pyramid and the upper surface is flat. It has a length of 60 cm, width of 90 cm, and height of 2 meters. The jumper does not only leap the stone piles, but he also should have the right technique when they are landing, because if he lands in the ground with the wrong position, it will cause the broken bones or a serious muscle injury. In the past, the stone board was covered with bamboo spear and nails. It showed how people in Nias were really serious about this maturity ritual. In war, hombo tradition means the training skillful and agile young soldiers in jumping the wall of enemy’s defense with sword in one hand and torch in another hand in the night.

Hombo batu Nias tradition has been being passed from generation to generation in every family in Nias Island. However, not all of the Nias youth can do hombo batu even they have been practiced it since the early age. People in Nias believe that besides the practice, there is a magical element from the ancestor spirits which helps the boy jumps the stone successfully and perfectly. In a long time ago, the tribes in the island often had wars because of the slavery issues, land border or revenge. Each village builds the fortress in its area with bamboo or stone in the height of 2 meter. Therefore, the hombo batu is created and done to prepare before the war begin.

Now, stone jumping is not for preparing the war, but it is only for ritual culture of Nias people. Hombo batu Nias is not only to pride the boy who successfully does it, but also for his family. The family whose boy can do it will celebrate it with holding a party and slaughter some cattle. The tradition still exists in South Nias regency and Bawo Mataluo Village.


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