A Magical Doll of Samosir – Sigale-gale


Samosir Island is located in North Sumatra and it is as popular as Toba Lake. One of the reasons to visit Samosir is the magical doll of the island. Local people call it Sigale-gale. It is actually a regular doll. Though, it comes with Batak traditional clothing and Ulos fabric. In terms of size, the doll is similar to human. The doll becomes a common sight in the village. In fact, some houses have it. The villagers display the doll in front of their house.

About Sigale-gale
Why do tourists like Sigale-gale? It is a unique doll, after all. It is only available in Samosir Island. Not to mention it has a unique history. Local people believe it as the representation of a son of a local king. In the past, the boy joined a war and died young. The king wasn’t able to accept the fact so he made a wooden doll as the replacement of his son. He named the doll Sigale-gale, which is similar to his son’s name Manggale.

Today, the doll becomes the part of Samosir society. Local people will play a traditional music and move the doll using wires. Sigale-gale will dance along with the music. During this performance, the audience can feel the mystical atmosphere. This makes the doll more interesting and unique. Usually, the ritual is done when there is a dead boy. They believe the spirit of the dead child may possess the doll and dance with it. It is said that the doll is able to move alone during the ritual. This uniqueness attracts more tourists, for sure.

A vacation to Samosir Island becomes more interesting due to the presence of Sigale-gale. Tourists can even witness the performance. Not to mention they can meet the creators of the doll. The artists are quite mysterious. The rumor has it. The makers need to give their soul to create a perfect Sigale-gale. There’s even a rumor regarding the sacrifice. Due to this belief, the locals decide to create the doll separately. That means they will distribute the tasks to several people. One creates the arms, while the other goes for the legs, and so on.

Another interesting fact about Sigale-gale is its container. The doll is stored in a coffin. He may also dance on it. In a nutshell, the doll becomes the representation of the death. It indeed has strong mystical value. However, modern people consider it part of culture. Tourists come to Samosir to witness such local tradition. In fact, the dance performance can be done anytime. It doesn’t have to be during the death of a boy. The dance usually takes 1-2 hours. It becomes a unique attraction for tourists

How to Get There
From Medan, you can reach Samosir by land. The fastest choice is a rented car. Usually, it comes with a local driver. The trip takes about 4-5 hours. Also, you need to cross the lake using a ferry. There are different accesses, so you must choose it wisely. As an alternative, you can visit Samosir by land. That means you need to cross a bridge. It connects Humbang Hasundutan regency to Samosir. Once you reach the island, you can get around using a motorcycle. An ojek is a good option.


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