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Indonesian Cultural Diversity – Essential Things to Know

Posted by Ariel D. on April 30, 2022.

The World Day for Cultural Diversity, which takes place every year on May 21, honors not only the diversity of the world’s cultures but also the critical role of intercultural dialogue in attaining peace and sustainable development. And Indonesia, the home of at least 300 ethnic groups, is a melting pot of numerous civilizations.

Today’s article will discover the most remarkable aspects of cultural diversity in Indonesia, from the world-famous Balinese to distant ancient settlements, with their own distinct personality.

Bali – Famous Tourist Destination

The Balinese are blessed with a gorgeous small island that attracts millions of foreign tourists each year, making them Indonesia’s most well-known culture. The intriguing, well-preserved cultural diversity, on the other hand, keeps visitors coming back for more. The Balinese have achieved a remarkable community by striking a balance between accepting contemporary life and conserving their predecessors’ customs.

Balinese Hindus, being Indonesia’s largest Hindu group, are deeply committed to their religious activities, which range from daily offerings to given burial ceremonies. Balinese are beyond welcoming, allowing outsiders to participate in many of its intriguing ceremonies since they are used to tourists crowding their country. Here are some typical customs of the cultural diversity that you can find in Bali.

The Laughing Yoga

Cultural diversity Yoga

Yoga sessions are one of the most enjoyed hobbies in Bali, where spirituality is as important as culture and breathtaking nature. On the island, you will discover a variety of yoga studios with various themes. Laughing yoga, on the other hand, is possibly the most intriguing (and fun) yoga practice.  Yoga and laughter will be practiced by participants, which are two of the most restorative and calming activities. You can join with locals and visitors and laugh on yoga mats then return home feeling more energized than ever.

The Silence Show

The Bengkala village has its own charm and fortitude, and is known as the “village of the deaf” since more than 2% of its inhabitants is deaf. Deaf people have created their own performing arts, rituals, and a unique sign language. Tourists may find this cultural diversity interesting and are willing to pay a visit to the community, attend rituals or concerts, learn some sign language, or even donate to help a deaf youngster attend school.


Badui – A Closed Society

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Urang Kanekes is the name that Badui people call themselves. Kanekes is the name of their holy area, which is located in the Kendeng Mountain in south Banten, Java. Urang means people in Sundanese. To retain their group’s heritage and fight Islamization, the Badui rely on restricted connection with the outside world.

The Badui’s strength is their ability to keep their enigmatic image by limiting interactions with the outside world, which is considered as one Indonesian cultural diversity. Badui people avoid interaction with others and keep their customs a well-guarded secret.

Many people think of the Badui as a secluded, undeveloped group, yet their profound and complex ideology is what keeps them from adopting the so-called contemporary lifestyle. The Baduis are earth-loving people who do everything they can to conserve the forest in which they live, even if it means avoiding gadgets, automobiles, and industrial operations.

Many people believe that life would be boring without cellphones and television, but this is not the case for the Badui. Farming, exploring, and crafting their famed weaving trade are all part of their busy and productive lives.


Asmat – The Exotic Culture And Art

When defining Indonesian cultural diversity, the term “Asmat” is explained to derive from the phrase “As Akat,” which means “the right man.” Others claim that Asmat is derived from Osamat, which means “man from a tree.”

The Asmat’s unique wood carvings have established them as one of the most well-known ethnic groups in Papua, a remote area with many characteristics still unknown to the outside world. Many of these masterpieces may still be seen today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

However, the Asmat is known for being a cannibalistic tribe that used to live nude in trees and hack off people’s heads as a ceremony. While the gruesome technique is no longer practised, the ethnic tribe maintains their profound, symbolic art, which continues to tell legends about the terrible clan who cooked their enemies’ flesh while filling the air with a black requiem.


Dieng – The Natural Highland

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Dieng’s residents live on the same-named awe-inspiring plateau, a historical place above the clouds with captivating views of nature. They are members of an old society with a distinct set of beliefs, one of which revolves around the Dieng Culture Festival, an annual cultural event that attracts thousands of people.

Children with unusual natural dreadlocks have become a cultural diversity phenomenon, and they are seen as a symbol of wealth blessings. The children do not have dreadlocks at birth, but they magically grow them. These offspring, who are seen to be the embodiments of their forefathers and mothers, are at the core of both society and the festival.

Dieng is derived from the local dialect Di Hyang, which means “abode of the gods,” a belief mirrored in the temple remains, which were originally home to at least 400 structures.


Tana Toraja – The Funeral Ceremony

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Beyond the tall mountains and rough granite cliffs of Sulawesi’s central highlands, Tana Toraja, the Toraja people’s homeland, is well protected. Although many people have been modernized or have adopted Christianity, the Toraja have only been ”discovered” and introduced to the world since the beginning of the previous century. They nevertheless cling to their age-old beliefs, ceremonies, and customs.

Some odd and well-known traditions in Tana Toraja mostly relate to death, including dead corpses, animal offerings, and cemeteries due to its intriguing culture and belief system. The Torajans make it their business to offer a lavish, celebratory burial, sometimes more than they can afford. They assume that the ceremony is necessary to secure their loved ones’ safe passage to the afterlife.

Once a year, a celebration is held in which the remains of the departed are exhumed, bathed, groomed, and taken for a walk through the neighbourhood as if they were still alive. This cultural diversity is chilling enough, not only for tourists but also for Indonesian from other areas.


To Sum Up – Indonesian Cultural Diversity

As a tropical paradise, Indonesia is frequently portrayed as a relaxing getaway where visitors may enjoy nature and adventure, and a potential market for many projects from other countries. However, with its cultural diversity, you still have to be aware of multiple differences if you want to localize your business in Indonesia.