Although Christianity has in recent times spread considerably throughout the island, it is still possible to see the remants of an ancient Indonesian pagan culture. Well over half of the population adheres to the animist Marapu religion -an central and land spirit worshiping. More than 60% of the population of West Samba hold to their traditional system of beliefs.
This belief is considered a religion since the system of worshiping the highest being is quite formal and routine. They believe in temporary life in the world and the eternal life in the Doomsday, in the world of spirits in Marapu heaven - Prai Marapu The world Marapu means firstly, the occupants of the eternal heaven, who lead a similar existence to men. They live in couples and one of these couples is the ancestor of the Sumbanese. Secondly, the spirits of Sumbanese ancestors in Prai Marupu. Thirdly the spirits of their relatives, and fourthly, all spirits dwelling the universe. Marapu has mysterious and magical authority over human life.
So, it has animistic, spiritual, and dynamic elements. This is obviouslyseen in every festival held in Sumbanese daily life that the festivals into magical factor strongly influencing the belief by placing spirits role as the main component.
Any spirits, according to Marapu beliefs, consist of two elements i.e. Ndewa and Hamanangu. In short, the Marapu concepts are the teachings about the balance of the universal life through which the happiness can be gained. The balance is symbolized by the Great Mother (ina Kalada) and the Great Father (Ama Kalada). who live in the universe and take the forms of the moon and the sun. In mythology, they are husband and wife who gave birth to the ancestors of the Sumbanese.
The honor Marapu, the Sumbanese put effigies, called Marapu statues, on stone altars where they lay their offerings in the forms of Sirih Pinang (a dish containing betel leaves, nuts and lime) and sacrificial cattle. The statues of Marapu are made of wood in the shape of human faces. These images are usually placed in the yard of their houses or inside the traditional houses.


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