Sacred Offerings in Bali - Culture, Indonesia

Indonesian Culture: Discover some of the most beautiful ones

Before you decide to spend some quality time in this wonderful country, you may want to know more about Indonesian culture so please find here some of the most interesting parts!

One of the most populated countries

The Colorful Papuan Costume - Indonesian culture

The Colorful Papuan Costume – Indonesian culture

As the world’s fourth largest country when it comes to population, Indonesia with its 203 million inhabitants represents a country with a large number of ethnic groups from Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese to Coastal Malays, Acehnese and Minangkabau. However, the highest percentage of the population (about 88%) are the Muslims.

More than 580 languages and dialects are spoken in Indonesia and they differ in accordance with the ethnic group. In addition, many of the ethnic groups speak more than one language and various dialects. Indonesian Chinese represent the most populated group in the country and there is about six or seven millions of them. Therefore, they highly influence country’s economy, but still, they make up only 3 percent of the population.

Anyway, these large ethnic groups also bring the diversity to the country’s culture, religion, as well as language. Javanese population is equivalent to 40 percent of the population of the United States. The other islands, which form an arc in the north, west and east of the inner ones represent about 90 percent of the country but only 42 percent of the population. Generally, Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, which is normally written in the Roman script and is based on European orthography.

Mentality of people of Indonesia

Tasikmalaya Folding Fan Dance - Culture, Indonesia

Tasikmalaya Folding Fan Dance – Indonesian culture

Although the first settlers who arrived in Indonesia in their search of raw materials were pretty violent and aggressive, every visitor today is warmly welcomed, with sincere hospitality. Indonesians are really friendly and courteous. They respect tourists different lifestyles and cultures, and even though they may be confused or surprised by travelers’ actions, they won’t be impolite or intrusive.

Pasola Demonstration; traditional horseback fighting of West Sumba - Culture, Indonesia

Pasola Demonstration; traditional horseback fighting of West Sumba – Indonesian culture

Even if you unconsciously do something which is not desirable regarding their traditional rules, they will understand it and apologies will be more than enough to make it up. But, if you are being rude and intolerant, you will certainly evoke some unpleasant memories and they may start arguing with you. So, as long as you treat them right and you respect the Indonesian culture, they will be equally well mannered to you.

 

Indonesian culture

Indonesian culture through the history has been shaped by constant interactions between original local customs and numerous external influences, since the country is located mostly along the ancient trading routes, in between the Far East, south Asia, and the Middle East. This resulted in practices of different cultures being influenced by various beliefs, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity. The results are usually a mixture of the cultural complex, which is normally different from the original cultures.

Ogoh - Ogoh, The Balinese Big Doll Creature Street Festival - Culture, Indonesia

Ogoh – Ogoh, The Balinese Big Doll Creature Street Festival – Indonesian culture

Culture fusion has many examples, which may include:

  • The fusion of the Islam with the Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief,
  • The fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Bodha,
  • The fusion between the Hinduism and the Animism in Kaharingan.

The Indonesian science, technology, and modernized entertainment, which include television shows and films, as well as the political system and issues, are influenced mostly by the Western culture. In addition, Indians have also influenced Indonesians songs and movies.

Some of the Indonesian regions have also stuck to the unique indigenous culture, which has not been influenced by the foreign cultures. The indigenous groups such as Asmat and the Dayak are still practicing their ethnic rituals, customs as well as wearing their traditional clothes.

Traditional performing arts

Sounds of Indonesia

Legong dancer. Ubud, Bali - Culture, Indonesia

Legong dancer. Ubud, Bali – Indonesian culture

In the 1960s, a pop group was imprisoned for playing western style music, but today, rules are not that strict. Anyway, there is a specific way in which the Indonesians perform their music, different styles are based on the usage of different instruments.