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Home » Halmahera Island » Sasadu: Traditional Gathering homes of the Sahu Tribe

Sasadu: Traditional Gathering homes of the Sahu Tribe

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    halmahera island by santimano
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    clouds over the halmahera island by santimano
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    beautiful view of halmahera island by santimano
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    picturesque view of halmahera by arnold binas
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    sunset in halmahera island bi arnold binas
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    halmahera from above by santimano
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  16. Sasadu

  17. Bentor Jailolo

  18. Bentor Jailolo



Built by the indigenous Sahu tribe on Halmahera Island in North Maluku, Sasadu are spacious, yet simple houses formed from wood andpalm leaves. In the local dialect of West Halmahera, sasadu is translated to mean a gathering house. These ancestral homes can be found in the center of every village and can accommodate up to 500 people. They are used as a place for the village’s residents to gather and dine as well as carry out traditional ceremonies and celebrations.


Sasadu homes are built without walls, reflecting the open and friendly character of the Sahu tribe’s culture. Wall-free structures are said to be a sign that anyone may enter, be they of the Sahu tribe or foreigners from a different land, regardless of race or religion, all newcomers will be welcomed with open arms.


These unique structures are built without the use of nails. The pillars supporting the house are usually made from palm wood, while the roof is fashioned with layers of woven palm leaves. Each of these homes has six doors. Two doors are for men, two for women, and two for guests. The roof of the building is encircled with a row of large flags called panji, small flags called dayalo, and paturo, which are round, white flags patterned with small hills. These flags represent both the tribe as well as the Republic of Indonesia.


The roof of each Sasadu is carved at both ends in the shape of a ship’s bow and stern, as the Sahu were traditionally a sailing tribe. Additionally, a model of a ship is placed within each Sasadu. These are called KagungaTego-tego, or A Warboat on Dry Land. Also found on the ridge around the roof are two spheres wrapped in fibers. These symbolize the two supernatural forces believed in by the Sahu tribe: Destruction and Protection.

 Sasadu: Traditional Gathering homes of the Sahu Tribe

The interior of the Sasadu has two tables. Women are seated at the table in front, while the men take their place at the table in the back. This positioning represents the precedence of women in the Sahu tribe, and how the men will keep guard from behind.


These traditional gathering halls have several functions. They can be used to hold meetings or receive guests, and are also used to celebrate the annual rice harvest. These festivals include traditional tribal dancing, lively music and an abundant feast. The party starts when the sun goes down and continues till sunrise, and is repeated for up to 7 days in a row. Travelers that come to observe are willingly welcomed and are expected to join in with the festivities. Other important days are also celebrated here such as weddings and births.


To see these Sasadu yourself, pay a visit to Jailolo and meet with the friendly Sahu tribe. Learn about their distinctive culture and experience this unique part of the world for yourself. The Sahu tribe resides in the Sahu District, West Halmahera, Maluku.

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 Sasadu: Traditional Gathering homes of the Sahu Tribe

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