For us, harvest festivals are about rummaging around in the cupboards for tin cans to give to charity. For the Sumba people in Indonesia, it involves a bloody fight - sometimes to the death.

The festival is called pasola, and VICE magazine have put together a film called Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ to give a rare glimpse into the ritual. It's an annual spear-throwing battle that takes place on Sumba, a place which was isolated from the rest of the world.

blood sacrifice in indonesia

Now the Sumba people and the ritual may end up a thing of the past, as tourists who come over to the island from Bali may upset the balance. Certainly the islanders aren't averse to western influences - the team meet one of the island's most respected warriors who shows them his hut and...Britney Spears posters.


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Presented by VICE correspondent, Milène Larsson, the film follows the lead up to the Pasola, the event itself, and the bloody aftermath.

blood sacrifice in indonesia

VICE said: "If you kill someone during the Pasola, there are no repercussions and you don't go to jail; the local traditions are so ingrained that the Indonesian law system steps back and lets local priests called Ratus handle business. Decapitations still happen on the island, so ritualised violence like during the Pasola provides a way of resolving disputes between the clans without too much bloodshed.

Take a look at the pictures here:

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  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.

  • ‘Blood Sacrifice in Indonesia’ is a Vice Guide to Travel film about an annual spear-throwing ritual battle on horseback called the Pasola. Taking place every year on Sumba - an Indonesian island that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long that ancient, animistic traditions have managed to survive - the Pasola is a mix between a blood sacrifice and harvest-ritual.