Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday, Mar 13th, Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia


We chartered a boat today, and went about a third of the way around Samosir island to visit Batak villages.  The Bataks constitute the fourth largest ethnic group in Indonesia, and dominate this area.  We're finding indonesia very different from Malaysia.  Although containing similar groups, they appear to be more geographically separate.

Batak villages are easily recognized from the distinct shapes of their longhouses.  Lined up in a row, and surrounded by walls, the lifestyles and beliefs of the villages are incorporated into the design of the structures and their uses.  Extremely patrilineal and centered around local kings, the family social and marriage rules emphasize strong kinship allegiance and respect for ancestry.

We were invited into a dance ceremony demonstrating prayers to a sky god to among other things: encourage good behavior from the tied water buffalo; grant good health to participants' sons and daughters; witness a marriage proposal; and the visit of an ancestor blessing all with holy water sprinkling.  I got it all on video, and will post it when I get time.

 At the finish, we were invited to join the dancers, and that too is recorded.  We'll see if that makes it to the public realm.

Traveling around the island to a few more villages, we watched a village council in their weekly meeting in front of the longhouses, heard the history of another village's kingships from a  descendant, and saw the ceremonial execution location and instruments for use in it for serious community crimes and prisoner of war.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Tuesday, Mar 13th, Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia.

No comments: