“Still keep pure life and humble interaction each other”
In a hilly forested area barely 120 km from the thunderous traffic and glittering skyscrapers of Jakarta, exists and entirely different world. In a series of tranquil hamlets live a resolutely traditional people who are known to the outside world as the Baduy. Numbering about 12.000, they call themselves Kanekes and subscribes to a world view known as Agama Sunda Wiwitan, or the religion of the "real" or "original" Sunda.
The Baduy are ethnically and linguistically related to their neighbors, the Sundanese, but unlike the have clung to an ancient way of living that eschews the modern world. The Baduy are most closely related to the people who live to the north of them but a widely held view is tat they comprise remnants or descendants of a Sundanese realm or Kingdom known as Pajajaran that succumbed to Islam in the 16th century.
They venerate nature and practice a form of ancestor worship that has resonances with other traditionalist groups of Southeast Asia. Their world view embraces elements of world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, though there is variety in the way they observe their faith. Their belief system is celebrated through song and dance, and especially a festival known as Seren Tahun that’s marks the end of the rice growing year and welcomes the new. It honors a traditional Sundanese rice goddess and the festival comprises a procession in which newly harvested rice is offered to the community leader to be stored in the main rice barn. The so-called mother of rice, Indung pare, is blessed and it later presented to the village for planting.
They are divided into two groups: The so-called inner Baduy (dalam), who shun the outside world and the outer Baduy (luar), who maintain limited contact with outsiders. They all observe a distinctive ritual life governed by many forbidden elements or taboos, the Baduy Dalam being the most strictly observant.
The inner Badui have their own priest or Pu’uni, whose duties include visiting the sacred grounds on the hills of Kendeng. They are obliged to refrain from killing, stealing, telling lies, cutting their hair and committing adultery, they are not allowed to get drunk or to eat at night, as well as flowers or perfume and to handle precious metals and money. Transport and moderns tools are denied them, as are wet rice agriculture and large domestic animals. Instead they clear hillsides by hand to grow traditional varieties of rice in rain-fed fields and wear sarongs made from indigo dyed homespun cotton. Their dwelling are raised clear of the ground by sturdy house posts and are enclosed with wood paneled walls covered with thatch roofs.
The outer Baduy are also ritually observant, but not as strict as the inner Baduy and their clothes may be more colorful like their Sundanese neighbors. Many trappings of modern life – toys, money batteries- can be seen in these villages. They practice limited animal husbandry such as raising hunting dogs, but do eat meat, and many work as farm hands on Sundanese owned paddy fields.
Some even work as migrant labors in big towns or cities such as Bogor, Bandung and Jakarta. Traditionally, the Baduy shun formal education and have very low rates of literacy and their material wealth is less than that of the neighboring Sundanese. However, their traditional way of life has attracted the attention of artist and intellectuals in contemporary Sundanese society who admire them as a kind of repository of traditional knowledge and values, and an antidote to the ills of modern urban society.
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Source : Winarni dkk, 2015. “Cultural Wonders of Indonesia” Ministry of Education Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta