Baduy: History, Culture and Beliefs

What is Baduy?

 Presiden Soekarno (1st Indonesian President) meet Baduy People
Urang Kanekes, Orang Kanekes or Baduy are indigenous groups in Lebak district, Banten. Their population is about 26,000 people, and they are one of the tribes that isolate themselves from the outside world. In addition they also have a taboo belief to be photographed, especially the inner of Baduy region.
The term “Baduy” is a name given by outsiders to the community, beginning with the Dutch researchers’ designation which seems to equate them with the Arabic group Badawi which is a nomadic society. Another possibility is due to the Baduy mount and Baduy river that exist in the northern part of the region. They themselves prefer to call themselves “Urang Kanekes” or “Kanekes” according to the name of their territory, or designations referring to the name of their village like Urang Cibeo means people who live in Cibeo (Garna, 1993).

How Baduy People communicate with others?

 Children of Baduy
The language they use is Sundanese. To communicate with outsiders they are fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, even though they do not get that knowledge from school. The inner Kanekes never knowing the writing culture, so the cultures, religions, and ancestor stories are stored in oral speech only.

Read Also, “Seba Baduy: A local tradition of Baduy Tribe in Banten Indonesia which similar to Camino De Santiago de Compostella in Spain”

The Kanekes never school, because formal education is against their culture. They rejected the government’s proposal to build school facilities in their villages. Although since the Soeharto era the government has been trying to force them to change their way of life and build modern school facilities in their region, but Kanekes people still reject the government’s efforts. As a result, the majority of Kanekes still can not read and write.

Beliefs and religion

 Baduy people walk in group
The beliefs of the Kanekes community is Sunda Wiwitan, the anchestor teach them to believe in ancestral spirit and worship spirit of the energy of nature (animism). Lately, most aspects of this traditions is also slightly influenced by some aspects of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islam.
This form of respect for the spirit of the energy of nature is manifested through the attitude of preserving nature; namely taking care of the natural surroundings (mountains, hills, valleys, forests, gardens, springs, rivers, and all the ecosystems in it), as well as giving the highest appreciation to nature, by treating and keeping the forbidden forest as part of efforts to maintain the natural balance of universe. The core belief is shown by the existence of pikukuh or the absolute adat provisions adopted in the daily life of the Kanekes (Garna, 1993). The most important content of Kanekes’ pikukuh (adherence) is the concept of “without  any change”.
They also have quote from their anchestor and they believe on it.
“Lojor heunteu beunang dipotong, pèndèk heunteu beunang disambung”.
(Long can not be cut, short can not be connected)
 Ngaseuk
The taboo in daily life is interpreted literally. In agriculture, this form of pikukuh is by not changing the contour of the land for the fields, so the way of farming is very simple, not cultivating the land with plow, not making terracing, just planting with tugal, it is a sharpened bamboo. On the construction of the house also the contours of the soil surface are left as is, so the poles of the house of Kanekes are often not the same length. Their words and actions are honest, innocent, even in trade they do not bargain.

Arca Domas

The most important object of Kanekes is the Arca Domas, whose location is kept secret and is considered the most sacred. The Kanekes visited the site once a year in Bulan Kalima (fifth month). Only Pu’un or the highest cultural chairman and some elected members of the community follow the worship group. In the complex there are statues Domas stones that store rainwater mortars. If at the time of worship is found the stone mortar is full of clear water, then for the Kanekes community it is a sign that the rain will fall very much, and the harvest will work well. Conversely, if the stone is dry or water is turbid, it is a sign of not very good for harvest (Permana, 2003a).

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