Balinese culture is world-famous and the island of Bali has been a primary touristic destination for years now. With the growing popularity of Indonesia more and more people also know about Toraja people (also thanks to the locally grown coffee of great quality). Perhaps the famous sailors and fisherman of Sulawesi, known as Bugis also have gained international recognition. So to find true ancient cultures do we need to go deep in the forests of Papua or Borneo? Luckily the answer is no! There are at least three existing unique cultures still existing on the capital island of Jawa - which of course is the most popular destination for our interns.
Their homeland in Banten, Java is contained in just 50 km2 (19 sq mi) of hilly forest area 120 km (75 mi) from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. The Baduy are divided into two sub-groups; the Baduy Dalam (Inner Baduy), and the Baduy Luar (Outer Baduy). No foreigners were allowed to meet the Inner Baduy, though the Outer Baduy do foster some limited contacts with the outside world. Many people just view the Badui as a remote, underdeveloped community while actually, it’s their deep and intricate philosophy that holds them back from embracing the so-called modern lifestyle. The Baduis are earth-loving people who try their best to preserve the jungle they live in, even if that means restricting themselves from electronics, vehicles, and industry activities. The religion of the Baduy is known as Agama Sunda Wiwitan, an ancestral teaching that is rooted in ancestral worship and honoring or worshiping spirits of natural forces (animism). If it had not just read that, could you believe that such an amazing tribe still survived to modern times that close to Jakarta?
The people of Dieng live in an awe-inspiring plateau by the same name, a historical site above the clouds with mesmerizing views of nature. They are part of an ancient community with a unique set of beliefs, one of which surrounds a cultural festival that gathers thousands of people every year, the Dieng Culture Festival. The culture witnesses a curious phenomenon of children with unlikely natural dreadlocks, and they are considered a symbol of blessings of prosperity. The children are not born with dreadlocks, but instead, mysteriously develop them. These children, believed to be the embodiment of their ancestors, are at the center of the society, as well as the festival. Dieng comes from the local dialect Di Hyang that means “abode of the gods”, a belief reflected in the temple ruins thought to have once been a huge compound with at least 400 buildings. It is unclear when they were built, estimated to range from mid 7th century to end of 8th century AD; they are the oldest known standing stone structures in Java.
The Tenggerese live around Mount Bromo, one of the most-visited tourist attraction in Indonesia. Their fascinating Kaskada ceremony adds beauty to the picturesque volcano, when offerings of harvest and poultry are thrown in to the mountain’s crater, followed by captivating cultural performances in the village. The culture is so integral to the attraction that the national park that covers Mount Bromo is named Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Legends circulate about how the ancient community are descendants of the Majapahit Kingdom’s princes who fled their kingdom to avoid attacks from Muslim kingdoms. The Indonesian government declared the Tengger mountains as the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru national park and declared that any more logging in this area is an illegal act, therefore protecting the Tenggerese from further disruption.
We hope that these information can broaden your information about the Island of Jawa and inspire to dig deeper into its culture during your internship