Simanindo, a small village at the northern part of Samosir Island, was the last place that I visited on a trip to Samosir’s historical and cultural places. When I parked the motorbike at Huta Bolon Simanindo, I could hear some traditional music instruments were being played. Finding out that the dance performance had just begun, I rushed my way to the inner courtyard where the performance took place. When I took a quick look at the sheet on which the program is written, I was relieved after knowing that I hadn’t missed that much.
The dance performance itself consists of several acts, each of them portrays different aspects in the life of Bataks. A young man coming to a young woman’s family to propose the daughter, the villagers dancing around a pole which is adorned with leaves to symbolize the sacred banyan tree, a shaman running around an egg while carrying a spear are, in my opinion, some of the most interesting acts throughout the dance performance. Before coming to the final act, the shaman would ask some visitors to dance with him and the other dance performers for a few minutes. Most of the dancers are quite old though, leaving a question in my mind, would there be more local young people willingly preserve this unique dance as a part of their culture and heritage? I surely do hope so.
After the dance performance ended, all tourists left the place right away, leaving Robin and I as the only visitors at the huta (walled village). I, of course, took the liberty to take some photographs of bolon (literally house, after which the village is named) and sopo (rice barn). What makes the houses in this place special is because unlike other houses in other villages which had already used modern roofs — although still retain the look of a Batak traditional roof, at Huta Bolon Simanindo all of the bolons and sopos still use thatched roof.
Just outside the huta, there are some tombs of the deceased local royal family members, a museum, a royal barge and some other things which are used for different purposes. However it’s the museum that caught my attention the most due to its various collections of Batak artifacts. I’ve got some questions answered at this place, one of them is about the lizard and breasts carvings which can be found at many places in North Sumatra. Apparently the breasts symbolize fertility while the lizard is an allegory of how Bataks should spread all over the places, just like lizards which can be found on house walls, on trees, on the ground and many more.
Photographs were taken, curiosity was fulfilled, a new culture has been learned. It’s time for me to leave Samosir and head to the provincial capital, the ever bustling and vibrant Medan.