The island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia is home to the Pasola festival - a potentially fatal spear-throwing fight on horseback.

Sometimes called the Forgotten Island, Sumba's people still follow ancient customs and traditions. Their unique thatched houses have three levels: the lower one is for livestock, the middle is for humans (women in rooms on the left, men on the right) and the top level is where is the ancestors live.

The Milky Way arcs over traditional houses in Wainyapu village on the island of Sumba, Indonesia, during the Pasola Festival, an event held every year to welcome the new harvest seasonUlet Ifansasti/Getty

The Pasola is held every year in February or March when the Nyale, or sea worms, can be found in the shallow waters. The coming of the worms marks the end of the wet season and the time to begin planting rice – and the time to saddle up and throw spears at your rivals.

The ancient fighting game involves two teams of men on horseback charging towards each other with spears. It's a dangerous sport; players and even spectators can be injured or killed. It is believed that any spilled blood will fertilise the land and increase the year's rice crop.

sea worms
Villagers gather on the beach at sunrise to look for sea worms. These worms, known as Nyale, can be found in the shallow waters during February and March. The coming of the worms marks the end of the wet season and the time to begin planting riceUlet Ifansasti/Getty
sea worms
A woman holds a bowl of sea worms. The size and the shape of the worms are believed to predict the year's rice cropUlet Ifansasti/Getty
Rriders prepare to throw their spears during the Pasola war festivalUlet Ifansasti/Getty
man on horseback
A man rides into 'battle'Ulet Ifansasti/Getty
throw spear
A rider tries to hit a rival with a 'pasol' javelinUlet Ifansasti/Getty
arsenal shirt
A boy wearing an Arsenal shirt sits on horseback at the festivalUlet Ifansasti/Getty
A Pasola rider throws his spear
A Pasola rider throws his spearUlet Ifansasti/Getty
Men wield machetes as a fight breaks out between supporters of rival teamsUlet Ifansasti/Getty
A soldier holds a rifle as a fight breaks out between supporters of the two teamsUlet Ifansasti/Getty
pig roast
Sumbanese men prepare a roasted pig for the feastUlet Ifansasti/Getty
A man grills a chicken over an open fireUlet Ifansasti/Getty
chicken organ
A priest predicts the future by reading the organs of a grilled chickenUlet Ifansasti/Getty
A young man prays at the tomb of his ancestorsUlet Ifansasti/Getty
prayer mouths
Villagers, their mouths stained with betel nut juice, perform a prayer ritual at the graves of their ancestorsUlet Ifansasti/Getty
The island of Sumba is in eastern Indonesia, between Malaysia and AustraliaGoogle