Sigale-gale The Magic Doll of Samosir

Tourist Spot   |   Nov 19, 2019

Most of visitors reason to visit Samosir is the magical doll of the island. Local people call it Sigale-gale. It is actually a regular doll dressed with Batak traditional clothing and Ulos fabric. Sigale-gale the doll is similar to human and it becomes a common sight in the village. In fact, some villagers display the doll in front of their house.

Sigale-gale, The Magic Doll of Samosir – Photo credit toplintas.com

Sigale-gale is a unique doll, and available in Samosir Island only. The magic doll, Sigale-gale 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.

The dance ritual of Sigale-gale – Photo credit merdeka.com

A vacation to Samosir Island becomes more interesting due to the presence of Sigale-gale. Tourists can even witness the performance and 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.

There is 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.

Source: Toba Indonesia Tourism

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