150+ Amazing Indonesian Cultures: Ceremonies – Clothes – Foods – Houses

Indonesia is a multicultural country. Indonesia has 34 provinces, and each of the provinces has its own ethnic groups. Each ethnic group has their own folks. Such as language, dance, and cultures. So, it makes Indonesia very rich in cultures, and many foreign tourists come to Indonesia just to see or get involved in the traditional cultures.

National Culture

Since ancient time, Indonesia is known as a multicultural nation. This is written in Mpu Prapanca’s book, Sutasoma (13-14 Century AD). There is a phrase in the book written in Sanskrit saying “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”, which means “different but stay in unity”. The multi culture consists of different ethnic groups, folk cultures, religions, race, and folk languages.

The cultures, arts, familial systems, folk languages and physical appearances may be different, but the nation has similarities too, such as the same law, property possessions, alliances, and the social life which based on family life.
The similarities make the Indonesian National Culture.

See also:

Traditional Houses

The multiculture makes every ethnic group in Indonesia has its own architecture. The similarities of the architecture is that most of the traditional houses use woods because woods are abundant in Indonesia, most of them are built on stilt, and they usually have 1 main wooden stairs for each house. And each house is usually inhabited by more than 1 family. Here are the traditional houses of the 34 provinces of Indonesia:

1.Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam

 Rumah Krong Bade, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province

Image result for rumah acehRumah Krong Bade, also called Rumoh Aceh is a traditional house from Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province, the most west side of Sumatera Island.

This house is built on stilt to minimalize animal attacks (yes, until now there are still tigers and leopards in Sumatra). It has 1 main front stairs.

Now this house is already scarce, because Aceh people today prefer to stay in modern houses. The reasons are because the construction costs are more expensive.

For the construction of one house, it needs several traditional material. Such as the roofs which are made of “ijuk” (a kind of palm tree fibers) need constant smokes from traditional stoves to kill bugs that eat the fibers away. Now people prefer to use gas stoves since it is more practical and needs less time to prepare foods. Gas stoves don’t produce much smokes, so the bugs in the roof fibers multiply greatly and destroy the roofs in short time. Killing those bugs by fogging every week costs a lot of money too. This is one of the main reason why traditional houses that use ijuk as roofs are more scarce today.

See also: Sumatran tigers

2. North Sumatra

 Rumah Bolon, North Sumatera Province

Image result for rumah bolon tobaRumah Bolon is the identity of Batak people who live in North Sumatra Province. Batak people are divided into 6 sub-ethnics and the 6 of them have their own style of Rumah Bolon. The sub-ethnic houses are Rumah Bolon Toba, Rumah Bolon Simalungun, Rumah Bolon Karo, Rumah Bolon Pakpak, Rumah Bolon Angkola and Rumah Bolon Mandailing.

The houses are scarce now, and the reason is the same as Rumah Krong Bade in Aceh. We still can find some Rumah Bolon in touristic places such as Toba Lake or Berastagi.

3. West Sumatra

 Rumah Gadang, West Sumatra Province

Image result for rumah krong badeRumah Gadang is the traditional house of Minang people who live in West Sumatra Province. The rooms of the house are given to the parents and the daughters, while the sons sleeps in mosques or boarding schools. This is because Minang people has matrilineal system, so the boys start to live in mosques once they reach 12-13 years old.

Minang people also had nomad tendency, so we can see this house around Malayan Peninsula, such as Riau Province, Malaysia and Singapore.

4. South Sumatra and Bangka-Belitung

Rumah Limas, South Sumatera and Bangka-Belitung Provinces

Image result for rumah limasRumah Limas is the traditional house of South Sumatra and Bangka Belitung Provinces. Bangka-Belitung Province was established in 2000, before it was part of South Sumatra Province.

The house still has Malay style of architecture. The house usually has 2 floors. The roofs has the form of pyramid (limas).

Most of Rumah Limas have surface area of 400-1000 meter squares.The stilts and pegs are made of ironwoods, while the doors, walls, and floors are made of tamarind woods.

5. Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java

Rumah Joglo, Central Java – Yogyakarta – East Java Provinces

Image result for rumah krong badeRumah Joglo in Middle Java, Yogyakarta and East Java Provinces have some similarities, including the shape of the roofs, shape of the house, and the number of the rooms.

The house usually consists of 6 main rooms: pendapa, pringgitan, dalem, sentong, gandok tengen, dan gandok kiwo.

Pendapa is the front hall that looks like big terrace, used as meeting place or party place to watch gamelan, wayang kulit, dances, etc.

Pringgitan is the room between pendapa and rumah dalem. Pringgitan is usually used for receiving guests. Rumah dalem is more private, it is the place where the family live.

See also:

6. West Kalimantan

Rumah Panjang, West Kalimantan Province

Image result for rumah adat bali gapura candi bentarRumah Panjang is a traditional house from West Kalimantan Province, located on Borneo Island.

This house is also built on stilt. The shape is elongated, thus being called “rumah panjang ” (long house). The pegs are 2-3 meters high, with wide main stairs.

See also Indonesian Mythology

Just like other traditional houses, it’s very difficult to find this house nowadays, since most people prefer to live in modern houses.

7. Central Kalimantan

 Rumah Bentang, Central Kalimantan Province

Image result for rumah bentangAlthough Central Kalimantan is very closed to West Kalimantan, it has its own traditional house. Rumah Bentang has the same architecture as Rumah Panjang, but much bigger. Rumah bentang can reach 150 m long and the pegs can reach 5 m high.

One Rumah Bentang can be inhabited by 150 people. Meanwhile, Rumah Bentang also becomes pride for Central Kalimantan in ancient time. it used for most of ancient people for living their daily activities.

See also Indonesian National Flower

Then nowadays it becomes heritage site of Kalimantan cultures.

8. East Kalimantan

 Rumah Lamin, East Kalimantan Province


Image result for rumah laminThis house is the result of inculturation between 3 ethnic groups: Dayak, Kutai and Banjar.

This house is even bigger than Rumah Bentang. This house is really huge, around 300 m x 15 m , with the pegs around 3 m high. This house can be inhabited by 30 families.

The infrastructure of Ruman Lamin is similar like other Kalimantan traditional houses. It because shows the uniqueness which lay under the process of built. Moreover, there are also special meaning behind the contruction.

9. South Sulawesi

 Rumah Tongkonan, South Sulawesi Province
Image result for rumah krong badeThis is the traditional house of Toraja ethnic group from South Sulawesi Province.

This house has a very antique architecture. With arched roofs that look like a boat and lines of buffalo horns on the front side, this house makes many foreign tourists curious and come to Toraja.

It only to see the houses and traditional funeral ceremony. Other than the main function as a home, Rumah Tongkonan is also used to place corps.

20. Central Sulawesi

Rumah Tambi, Central Sulawesi Province


Image result for rumah tambiThis house is rectangular with the exact measurement of 7 m x 5 m. The house is also built on stilt, with the pegs consist of stones and woods.

This house doesn’t have any divided rooms, makes it looks like a hall. The kitchen (traditional wooden stove) is located in the middle, which also serve as room heater.

The house can only be built facing north or south. The local superstition says it is forbidden to build house facing or backing the sun.

The steps of the stairs are also unique. Traditional leaders will have steps with even numbers, while common people must build steps with odd numbers.

21. West Papua and East Papua

Rumah Honai, West Papua – East Papua Provinces

Image result for rumah honaiThis is the traditional house of indigenous people who live on Papua Island. The roofs are cone-shaped and made of dried grass.

The house is small without any windows to protect people from cold weather as Indonesian part of Papua mostly consists of mountains. The house is about 2,5 m tall, and in the middle of the house there is fireplace as room heater.

On the other hand, Papua traditional house is one of house which has unique structure and still uses origin material for its building.


[accordion multiopen=”true”]
[toggle title=”22. Bengkulu” state” opened]

Rumah Rakyat, Bengkulu Province

Rumah Rakyat has Malay architecture. It is made of woods. This house can be seen around town and villages in Bengkulu Province. The house is divided into lobby (for receiving guests), master bedroom for parents, sons’ bedroom, unmarried daughters’ bedroom, etc.

See also:

[toggle title=”23. Lampung“]

 Rumah Nuwou Sesat, Lampung Province

This is the traditional house of Lampung Province. The unique name is from Lampung’s folk language. Nuwou means house, Sesat means praying place. This house is built on stilt, the roofs are made of woven dried grass, the walls made of woods, and the houses are placed on the side of village roads. Nowadays this house is very scarce in Lampung.

[toggle title=”24. Banten“]

Rumah Adat Badui, Banten Province

This is the house of the indigenous Badui people in Banten Province. Badui people still live a very traditional life. The house is built on stilt. The roofs are made of woven dried grass, the floor is made of splitted bamboos, the walls are made of woven bamboo skin, and the pegs are made of stones. This house still can be seen in Ujung Kulon area, Banten.

[toggle title=”25. DKI Jakarta“]

Rumah Kebaya, DKI Jakarta

This house is called “kebaya” because the roofs has the shape of a saddle, and from the side, it looks like silhouettes of a kebaya. The house has large terrace, and divided into 2 parts: the front part is semi-public, where neighbors can gather around. The back part is more private, only closed people and families who can enter it.


[toggle title=”26. West Java“]

Rumah Adat Sunda, West Java Province

The house looks almost the same as Badui house, since Sunda and Badui people were rooted from the same Sunda-Pajajaran Kingdom in West Java. The house is also built on stilt, but the stilts are only 0,5 – 1 meter high. The room under the floor is usually used as pet’s cage or as warehouse. This house also has main stairs, while the roofs are made of woven dried grass.

[toggle title=”27. Riau“]

 Rumah Selaso Jatuh Kembar, Riau Province

This is the traditional house of Riau Province. It has the touch of Malay architecture. This house is usually used as village meeting hall. “Selaso jatuh kembar” means the house has 2 lobbies with the flooring lower than the living room.

[toggle title=”28. Jambi“]

 Rumah Panggung Kajang Leko, Jambi Province

This is the traditional house of Jambi province. It is built on stilt, and made of woods. The house has 8 rooms: The first room is used for resting and storing water. The second room is used to receive male guests. The third room is used for sons’ sleeping room.

The fourth room is used as bridal chamber. The fifth room is used as unmarried daughters’ sleeping room. The sixth room is used for receiving female guests. The seventh room is used for storing water, rice and preparations for cooking. The eighth room is used as kitchen, where the women cook using traditional stove.

[toggle title=”29. Bali“]

Gapura Candi Bentar, Bali Province 

This is the iconic house gate of Bali, which has the influence of Majapahit Hindu. Most of the houses and temples use this gate, even the international hotels and restaurants. Some of the bigger gates has Hindu reliefs on it, including the head of Barong, the good spirited mythical animal that guards the house from evil spirits. Once we arrive in Bali, we will see plenty of this house along the roads.

[toggle title=”30. South Kalimantan“]

 Rumah Bubungan Tinggi, South Kalimantan Province

South Kalimantan is inhabited by Banjar people. The house has very high roofs (therefore called bubungan tinggi), with the mixed architecture between Rumah Bentang and Malay architecture. This house is the mascot of South Kalimantan Province.

[toggle title=”31. North Kalimantan“]

Rumah Baloy, North Kalimantan Province

North Kalimantan Province was established in 2013. The house is a development from Rumah Lamin, but with modern and stylish touch. It has Chinese influence on the roofs. The house is still built on stilt, and mainly made of ironwoods. Now Rumah Baloy is used as village meeting area and the home of traditional leaders.

[toggle title=”32. North Sulawesi“]

Rumah Pewaris, North Sulawesi Province

This is the traditional house of Minahasa ethnic group in North Sulawesi. The house is also called Walewangkoa. The house is also built on stilt, with 2 stairs on the right and left side which unite at front of the house. The house is fully made of woods. The house is divided into 3 sections: Setup Emperan as room for receiving guests, Pores as bedrooms, and Sangkor as barn.

[toggle title=”33. South-east Sulawesi”]

 Rumah Buton, South-east Sulawesi Province

This house, especially The Palace of Sultan Buton, is probably one of the most unique houses in the world. The house is made of interlocking woods without any fasteners or nails, but the house can stand strong and luxurious.

[toggle title=”34. Gorontalo“]

Rumah Dulohupa, Gorontalo Province

Rumah Dulohupa has artistic roofs, built on stilt, and it has ornaments on its pegs. This house serves as village meeting area and the living place of traditional leaders.

[toggle title=”35. North Maluku and South Maluku“]

 Rumah Baileo, South Maluku – North Maluku Province

This is the traditional house of Baileo ethnic groups that live in Maluku. It is one of the central life of the community, along with mosques and churches. The architecture is distinctive from common people’s houses. This house is used as meeting area, performing traditional ceremonies, and the place to store sacred objects.


[toggle title=”36. West Nusa Tenggara“]

 Rumah Dalam Loka, West Nusa Tenggara Province

This is the traditional house of 4 ethnic groups in West Nusa Tenggara: Sasak, Sumbawa, Dongu and Dompu. This house can only be inhabited by traditional leaders and kings. This house has high artistic value.

[toggle title=”37. East Nusa Tenggara“]

Rumah Musalaki, East Nusa Tenggara Province

Rumah Musalaki is the traditional house of Sumba people from East Nusa Tenggara. This house has high roofs that looks like Rumah Bubungan Tinggi from South Kalimantan. The house only can be inhabited by traditional leaders, headmans, and district leaders.


Traditional Ceremonies

The multicultural Indonesia also has plenty of traditional ceremonies. The ceremonies are usually held after big harvest and during funerals. Until now, these ceremonies are still practised by local people. These ceremonies also attract tourists to witness the rich cultures. There are hundreds of ceremonies from each of ethnic groups, but I will only explain the most common ones. I make the group of ceremonies based on the big islands.

1. Sumatra Island

  • Tabuik (West Sumatera Province)

Image result for tabuikA ceremony based on Islam religion, but it is only found in Kabupaten Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra. It already became traditions for centuries. This ceremony is held every 10 Muharram (Hijriah year) to remember the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s son in a battllefield.

This ceremony is also held to eliminate bad luck. A few days before the due day, people will make 2 tabuik. Then, at due day, both of the tabuik are taken to the sea in Gondoriah beach.

See also: Indonesian religions

  • Batombe (West Sumatera Province)

A ceremony of replying poems or verses among teenagers, which can lead into relationships. At the beginning, this ceremony was held at the beginning of building Rumah Gadang, but nowadays it is held during wedding party too.

  • Manulangi Natua-tua (North Sumatra Province)

A Batak ceremony, which is done by giving foods to the elders. This ceremony is a symbol of thanking the parents for taking care of the children.

  • Lompat Batu (North Sumatra Province)

A traditional ceremony from Nias people as a way to change the status of a male teenagers from a boy to an adult. It is done by leaping over 2 m high stones. If a boy can do this, his family will be very proud.

See also: Indonesian martial arts

2. Java Island

  • Dugderan (Central Java)

Image result for rumah krong badeA ceremony to mark the beginning of Ramadhan, the month of fasting. This ceremony is held by people from Semarang. The word “Dugderan” came from the sounds of wooden drums and bamboo cannons which are identical for Ramadhan.

This ceremony is held one day before the first fasting day. In this traditional ceremony, people parade “warak ngendok”, a mythical animal made of colorful papers. Meanwhile, the body made looks like a goat, and the head is a dragon and the skin has golden scales.

Moreover, There is also drum-band and traditional art performances, traditional clothes parade, and public fair. Dugderan is one of traditional traditions which still held until now. Usually in traditional event or only for welcoming important figures.

  • Nadran (West Java – Central Java – East Java)

A traditional ceremony held by fishermen on the north coast of Java Island. They hold this ceremony every year as a symbol of giving thanks to God for abundant fish catches, and hoping that in the next year they will get more catches. The ceremony is done by putting delicious foods (such as nasi tumpeng) to the sea.

  • Mitoni (West Java – Central Java – East Java): is called Tingkeban by Sunda people in West Java. This ceremony is held when a woman is 7 months pregnant. This ceremony is a symbol of prayer so that the fetus will be healthy and perfect until birth, and the mother would not have any difficulty in delivering the baby.

3. Bali Island

Bali people have many traditional ceremonies, and the ceremonies can differ from each district to another. The most known one is Ngaben.

  • Ngaben

Image result for ngabenNgaben,  is traditional ceremony which still held until now for most people in Bali.

Then, Ngaben is a cremation ceremony of Hindu people in Bali. HIndu people believe that cremation will let go of any earthly ties of the deceased person.

Once the earthly ties are let go, the deceased person will have bigger chance of seeing the truth and eternal life in the next world.

A few days before Ngaben is held, the mourning family helped by their neighbors will make Bade and Lembu from woods and colorful papers.

See also:

4. Kalimantan Island

  • Aruh Baharin (All Dayak ethnicity): is held after harvesting rice, as a symbol of asking permission from the ancestors to eat the rice. This ceremony is held in village hall. Dayak people believe if they eat the rice before asking permission from their ancestors, there will be disasters coming soon.
  • Aruh Buntang (Dayak Deah): a funeral ceremony held by Dayak people from Deah village. The ceremony is called Miya in Dayak Ma’anyan ethnic, and Tiwah in other Dayak ethnics. This ceremony is held to accompany the spirit of the deceased one to the next life. The ceremony is held for 3-14 days with the mix of singing, dancing, and musics. The singing, dancing and musics in this ceremony is regarded as very sacred by the indigenous people.
  • Mallassuang Manu (Mandar people, South Kalimantan): is held among Mandar ethnic group in South Kalimantan. This ceremony, male and female teenagers release some couples of roosters and hens as a symbol of asking God to send them spouses.

5. Nusa Tenggara

  • Etu (Flores Island): a boxing match in Flores people to test masculinity of male teenagers. Different from conventional boxing, etu boxers only use boxing gloves made of woven ijuk (palm tree fibers). One hand is covered with glove, and another hand doesn’t use any gloves, used for parrying opponent’s attacks.
  • Pasola (East Nusa Tenggara ):

It is from Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara. This ceremony is held in February or March every year, as prayer to God so that the harvest will be abundant. In this ceremony, there are 2 groups of young men who do battle game. Each group consists of 100 young men, carrying bamboo spears with blunt ends, and also wearing traditional battle clothes.

See also:

6. Sulawesi Island

  • Rambu Solo (Toraja, South Sulawesi)

Image result for rambu soloA funeral ceremony from Toraja, South Sulawesi. This ceremony is done from generation to generation.

The family of the deceased person must make a party as last respects to the deceased.

Then, after doing many events (one of them is Mapasilaga Tedong, a buffalo fighting), the corps is carried using Tongkonan (see the Traditional House section) to graves located on the cliffs in a cave called Pakuburuan Londa.

The unique part of this ceremony is making wooden doll which looks like the deceased. The wooden doll is placed on the cliff, and day by day the doll will look more and more similar with the deceased. Nowadays, this tradition only  uses in certain traditional event. Thus it take a longer time for only wait the doll deceased then after tht hte corps being buried.

  • Katiana (Poso / Pamona ethnic): the same as Mitoni ceremony in Java island. The difference is, in Katiana the ceremony is only held for a woman who has first time pregnancy. If there is more pregnancies afterward, she doesn’t have to do that ceremony again.
  • Katoba (South-east Sulawesi): a ceremony of Muna ethnic in South-east Sulawesi. This ceremony is devoted for boys in pre-pubery (6-12 years old) one day after they are circumcised. In this ceremony, those boys is given religious advices by an Islam priest.
  • Macceratasi (Bugis ethnic): a ceremony of Bugis ethnic. It is held every year. The ceremony is done by pouring a buffalo’s blood to the sea, to say thank you to God for the abundant fish catches in one year.

See also: Indonesia Flag – Indonesia Religion

  • Ma’nene (Toraja, South Sulawesi)

A traditional ceremony of Toraja ethnic, where Toraja people change the clothes of the corps of their deceased family and ancestors. For information, the corpses of Toraja people are preserved and will not be buried until the family can hold big party for them.

Traditional Dances

Indonesia also has many traditional dances. Each dance has its own typical characteristic that is different from each other. With many traditional dances, Indonesia is well known to have rich cultures and arts.

  • Tari Saman Meuseukat : This dance is done by sitting in line with dynamic rhythm. It is a dance with a poem full of teaching of virtue, especially teaching Islamic virtue. Its from Aceh.
  • Tari Pendet : At beginning, tari Pendet is a worship Balinese dance often performed in temples. This dance symbolized as a welcome to Gods descending to the earthly world. Step by step, along with modernization, Balinese artists changed Pendet into Welcoming Dance for honored guests, governments groups and tourists, but it still has sacral and religious value.
  • Tari Bidadari Teminang Anak: Originated from Rejang Lebong region, this dance literally means “nymph holding child”.
  • Tari Sekapur Sirih: an offering dance. This dance has many similarities with other Malay dances.
  • Tari Selampir Delapan: a social dance between teenagers, consists of 8 people (4 boys, 4 girls). This dance is very popular in Jambi and performed in many occasions, such as wedding party and Independence Day party. (See also: Gamelan Facts – Indonesian Language)
  • Tari Serampang Dua Belas: a Malay dance with joged rhythm, using music and drum style like Latin American music. Serampang dua belas is a social dance.
  • Tari Tor Tor: Traditional dance of Batak people, with cultural phylosophy background. It is used for welcoming guests and also performed during ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
  • Tari Tandak and Tari Joged Lambak, both are Malay dance and used as social dance. These dances are very popular.
  • Tari Piring : It shows dancers holding some saucers with candles in it. The dance symbolizes mutual cooperation of the villagers in doing daily tasks: working in ricefields and dry fields in day time and having good time in night time.
  • Tari Tanggai: is performed to welcome honored guest, also performed in traditional ceremonies.
  • Tari Putri Bekhusek: Putri Bekhusek means a princess playing. This dance is very popular in Ogan Komering Hulu region, it symbolizes the prosperity of South Sumatra.
  • Tari Topeng: uses wooden face mask. It is performed for welcoming honored guests.
  • Tari Yopong: This dance is usually performed to honor President’s guests.
  • Tari Topeng Kuncaran: Originated in Cirebon, using provoking-colored wooden face masks. This dance is based on the story of a king’s revenge because his love was rejected.
  • Tari Merak: is telling story about the life of a peacock, full of beauty and captivating.
  • Tari Serimpi: a keraton (palace) dance, accompanied by majestic gamelan music and soft and captivating movements. This dance is also performed in Keraton Yogyakarta.
  • Tari Blambangan Cakil: tells story about the battle between Srikandi and Buto Cakil (a man-eater giant). This dance symbolizes crushing angers. (See also: Most Expensive Universities in Indonesia)
  • Tari Bedaya: a keraton dance, performed by 9 beautiful girls with soft rhythm. In the past, the girls performing this dance would hope that the Sultan would choose one of them as his concubine.
  • Tari Remong: a dance from Surabaya, symbolizes warrior spirits. This dance is performed by male dancers for welcoming guests. This dance also spreaded to Malaysia.
  • Reog Ponorogo: a dance from Ponorogo region, this dance symbolizes virility, courage, and gallantry.
  • Tari Monong: is performed by a witch doctor using mystical energy, to drive away diseases so the sick person will be healed soon.
  • Tari Zapin Tembung: social dance of West Kalimantan citizens.
  • Tari Baksa Kembang: a welcoming dance for honored guests, performed by putting garland to the guests.
  • Tari Radab Rahayu: is performed in Tepung Tawar (wedding) ceremony, before the bride and groom sit together.
  • Tari Tambun dan Bungai: tells story about the courageous Tambun and Bungai, local warriors who shoo away enemies who wanted to rob the villagers’ harvests.
  • Tari Balean Dadas: is performed to ask for recovery of sick people.
  • Tari Gong: is performed on gong, a kind of metal drum. This dance is performed as welcoming dance for honored guests, also performed at the birth of tribal chef’s baby.
  • Tari Perang: tells story about 2 young men fighting for a girl.
  • Tari Lenso: a social dance of all Maluku people, especially single men and women. The dance is also performed in Minahasa, Sulawesi. The dance often serves as a place to look for spouses. The medium is a lenso (scarf). The scarf is a sign too. If the scarf is thrown away, it means the proposal is rejected; if the scarf is taken, it means the proposal is approved.
  • Tari Cakalele: a battle dance, describing couragious heroism of Maluku people.
  • Tari Perang: is performed to welcome heroes who come back from battlefield.
  • Tari Mpaa Lenggogo: is performed during Maulid Nabi Muhammad SAW. It is also performed in wedding ceremonies or circumcision ceremonies of royal family.
  • Tari Batunganga: is based on a folklore. The story is about the love of the citizens to the princess who went inside a stone. The citizens were begging so that the princess come out from the stone.
  • Tari Perang: shows the courage and skills of using weapons. The weapons used in this dance are whips and shields.
  • Tari Gareng Lameng: is performed during circumcision ceremony. This dance symbolizes congratulations and prayer to God so that the circumcized boy would be healthy and successful in his life.
  • Tari Suanggi: tells story about a husband who was bereaved by his wife, the wife died as a victim of evil spirit.
  • Tari Perang: symbolizes the heroism and courage of Papua people.
  • Tari Selamat Datang: shows the citizens’ happiness in welcoming honored guests.
  • Tari Musyoh: a sacred dance, performed for shooing away spirits of people who died because of accidents.
  • Tari Kipas: shows young girls’ skills of handling fans while folowing the rhythm of the music.
  • Tari Bosara: a welcome dance, performed for honored guests. The body movements are very elegant.
  • Tari Lumense: is performed to welcome honored guests.
  • Tari Peule Cinde: is also performed to welcome honored guests. The peak of the event is sprinkling flowers to the guests.
  • Tari Balumpa: a dance for welcoming honored guests. This dance is originated from Buton.
  • Tari Dinggu:  symbolizes mutual cooperation of villagers when smashing paddy seeds. The touch of rice pestle to the mortar makes unique rhythms that touches the viewers’ heart.
  • Maengket Dance: a social dance, performed by couples. This dance shows love and fondling.
  • Tari Polopalo: a social dance from Gorontalo. It is performed by young men and women. This dance is also an event to look for a spouse.

Traditional Clothes

Along with traditional house and traditional dances, each province also has traditional clothes. Some of the provinces have the same type of clothes. The similarity in these traditional clothes are the hand-woven sarongs and hand-woven wrap clothes.

See also: Indonesian most expensive fabrics

1. Ulee Balang (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)

In the past, this clothes only can be worn by the king and his family. Nowadays, we can see this traditional clothes in traditional ceremonies and weddings.

2. Ulos (North Sumatera Province)

Image result for ulosUlos is a wrap cloth, usually worn by wrapping it on the body, head, or on the hips to cover the trousers or skirts. Traditionally, it is hand-woven using wooden weaving tools. When weaving, the weavers (usually young women) can put golden threads on the cloth.

The more golden threads and motives, the more expensive it is. Among Batak people, ulos is said to have mystical power.Ulos is one of Most Beautiful Fabric in Indonesia which already known in international stage.

Many foreign designer use this fabric for make clothes by combined it with modern concepts of traditional clothes. It shows that fabric from Indonesia has already popular even in abroad stage. That’s why, we must proud and keep this heritage as one of symbols for nationalism.

3. Pakaian Penghulu and Bundo Kanduang (West Sumatra Province)

Pakaian Penghulu is worn by men, and Bundo Kanduang is worn by women. These traditional clothes can be seen in weddings and other traditional ceremonies.

4. Pakaian Belanga (Riau Province)

For men, the clothes are a shirt called teluk belanga. This traditional clothes consist of trousers, kain sampin (a kind of sarong to cover the trousers on the hips), and songkok (headscarf). For women, the traditional clothes are long shirts, wrap clothes and scarf. The scarf is put on one side of the shoulders.
This Malay clothes can be seen in most parts of Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore.

5. Pakaian Melayu Jambi (Jambi Province)

The clothes look the same as other Malay clothes on Sumatra Island. The traditional clothes from Jambi looks more extravagant than daily clothes, because it is embroidered with golden threads.

6. Aesan Gede (South Sumatra Province)

This traditional clothes are inspirated by Sriwijaya Kingdom which was a big Buddhist kingdom in South Sumatra. It uses many golden ornament.

7. Paksian (Bangka Belitung Province)

This is traditional clothes of Bangka Belitung Province. It has Malay style. The women usually wear long red shirt made of silk and wear crown which is called Paksian. The men wear Sungkon, a kind of turban.

8. Pakaian Bengkulu (Bengkulu Province)

Like other Malay style clothes, the women wear colorful long shirts embroidered with golden threads that forms small circles like coins. The men wear suits, sarong, trousers, sandals, traditional hat and keris.

9. Pakaian Tulang Bawang (Lampung Province)

There’s a difference between traditional clothes of Lampung people who live on the coast and on the mountains, but still using tapis cloth decorated with brass. Tapis cloth is a cloth that is woven manually with golden thread, making it looks extravagant.

10. Pakaian Betawi (DKI Jakarta)

This traditional clothes of Betawi people is influenced by Jakarta’s multiethnicity: Arabian, Chinese, Malay and Western Cultures.

11. Kebaya (West Java, Central Java and East Java Provinces)

Kebaya is worn by women in all sosial status, the difference is the motifs and material of the clothes. Kebaya in West Java is influenced by western style embroidery and laces.
Women from Central Java use batik cloth as kebaya. In Central Java, many batik clothes are still dyed manually.

12. Pangsi (Banten Province)

Pangsi is worn by badui people. Inner Badui use white color (symbol of purity), while Outer Badui use black clothes. Nowaday, Outer Badui people start to wear modern clothes too, but Pangsi is used during working in the fields and in ceremonies.

13. Kasatrian (Yogyakarta Province)

This traditional clothes are worn by male members of royal family. The royal customs already described where and where one kind of clothes should be worn around the Sultan’s Palace. Now this clothes are also used in weddings. The women wear kebaya.

14. Pesa’an (East Java)

This is traditional men clothes of Madura island, East Java. This clothes looks very simple, only a t-shirt with red and white stripes and loose trousers. The women usually wear kebaya.

15. Balinese Traditional Clothes (Bali Province)

Balinese traditional clothes have wide varieties, although at a glance they look similar. Every region in Bali has symbolic characteristic and ornaments, based on ceremonies, sex and the wearers. Social and economy status (caste) can be recognized based on the clothing motifs and jewellery ornaments.

16. Ti’ilangga (East Nusa Tenggara)

Ti’ilangga is the traditional hat for men in Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara. The women usually wear short kebaya and hand-woven cloth as skirt.

17. Pakaian Perang (West Kalimantan Province)

This clothes is made of barks that are processed naturally into clothes. The material is Kapuo wood barks or Ampuro wood barks. The barks are beaten in the water. The skill of processing the barks into clothes has been taught from generation to generation.

18. Central Kalimantan Traditional Clothes (Central Kalimantan Province)

The men use knee-length pants, silver belt, and hat. The men use jewelleries such as inuk (long necklace), cekoang (short necklace), and necklaces made of animal teeth. The women wear knee-length skirt, vest, head band with hornbill feathers, necklaces and earrings. This traditional clothes are often worn in weddings of Dayak people.

19. Pakaian Pengantin Bagajah Gamuling Baular Lulut (South Kalimantan Province)
Banjar people frim South Kalimantan have some varieties of traditional clothes, most of it have Malay style, but the most popular ones (can be seen in weddings) are Pengantin Bagajah Gamuling Baular Lulut. This clothes is primarily used in weddings.

20. Lipa Saqbe Mandar (West Sulawesi Province)

Lipa Saqbe Mandar is a silk sarong is a hand-woven sarong of Mandar people. It has distinctive motifs and popular in whole Sulawesi Island, especially among Bugis and Makassar people.

21. Baju Nggembe (Central Sulawesi Province)

Baju Nggembe is a traditional clothes worn by female teenagers in parties or ceremonies. This clothes has rectangular shape, round collar, the sleeves are as wide as the cloth, the blouse is knee-long and very loose.

22. Baju Bodo (South Sulawesi Province)

Baju Bodo is traditional clothes of Bugis people. This clothes has rectangular shape, usually with short sleeves (half of upper arms). Baju bodo is known as one of oldest clothes in the world.

23. Biliu and Mukuta (Gorontalo Province)

Biliu and Mukuta are traditional wedding clothes of Gorontalo people. The bride wears Biliu (wedding dress) and the groom wears Mukuta (traditional wedding suits). Traditional clothes of Gorontalo usually have three clothes and have its own meaning: purple, golden yellow, and green.

24. Baju Cele (South Maluku Province)

Baju Cele has geometrically stripes motifs, or small rectangular motifs. Usually, baju cele is worn with a sarong which has almost the same color, but the most important it has to look well-suited. Baju cele is worn in traditional ceremonies.

25. Manteren Lamo (North Maluku Province)

This is a traditional clothes of noble men (traditionally worn by Sultans). The cothes consist of black trousers with piping lining vertically, and closed suits with 9 big silver buttons. Meanwhile, the suit’s collar, arm lining and external pocket have red color.

26. Papuan Traditional Clothes (Papua and West Papua Provinces)

The clothes for men and women look alike. They also wear headband decorated with cendrawasih feathers, bracelets, necklaces, belts made of beads, and tassels on ankles.

Traditional Foods

The rich cultures make Indonesia has many traditional foods. Some of the foods, like Rendang and Rica-rica, are already widely known, both in Indonesia and abroad. The similarity of Indonesian foods are using chilli, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, galangal and sometimes coconut milk. The taste is a bit like Thai or Vietnamese foods.

[accordion multiopen=”true”]
[toggle title=”1. Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam” state=”opened”]

  • Mie Aceh: a spicy noodle from Aceh. It consists of thick yellow noodles with thin stripes of beef, mutton, or seafoods, cooked in rich strong curry-like spices.
  • Kari bebek: a traditional curry of Aceh, with thick coconut gravy. The traditional curry uses duck, but it can be susbtituted with chicken too.
  • Timphan: a traditional cake made of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar, and thick coconut milk.


[toggle title=”2. North Sumatera”]

  • Ikan Mas Arsik (dengke ni arsik):A dish consists of carps cooked in yellow curry, with szechuan peppers, long beans and aubergines.
  • Saksang: A specialty of Batak Toba people. A dish consists of pork, pig blood, limes and special spices.
  • Babi Panggang Karo: A specialty of Karo people. It is a dish consists of roasted pork, pig blood sauce, light soup, and cassava leaves.
  • Ombus-ombus: A Batak traditional cake made of rice flour, palm sugar, and grated coconut.
  • Bika ambon: A traditional cake of Malay people in Medan town, made of glutinous rice flour, eggs, sugar, coconut milk, and a hint of kaffir lime leaves. Now it is a special pastry that are often purchased as gifts to people outside of Medan town.


[toggle title=”3. West Sumatra”]

  • Rendang:

traditional foodsThe most known dish of Minangkabau people. It can be made of beef, djenkol, potatoes, eggs or clams cooked in rich coconut gravy until the the consistency is dry.

The cooking process can take hours. At 2011, rendang is ranked the 1st in the list of World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods by CNN International. Meanwhile, rendang consists of so many herb and spices for one dish. That’s why Rendang contain several health benefits that can manages your body well.

 On the other hand, Rendang also eaten by most of foreign people such as American, Australian, and other countries which like spicy tastes. While, in Aisan, It eaten by Thailand people and several people in Vietnam.

  • Balado: It is a sauce made of chilli, onions, and tomatoes, cooked in vegetable oil until a bit dry. The sauce can be mixed with beef, fish, prawns, squids, eggs, or aubergines.


[toggle title=”4. Jambi Province”]

Gulai Ikan Patin: It is a curry of Mekong catfish, popular in Jambi province. This curry is cooked with tempoyak, a fermentation of durian flesh. But some people prefer to use coconut milk instead of tempoyak to omit the strong smell and taste of tempoyak.


[toggle title=”5. Riau Province”]

  • Gulai belacan: a curry of prawns or fish, using shrimp paste as seasoning of its gravy.
  • Otak-otak: Spicy fishcakes, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled prior to eating. The banana leaves gives appetizing aroma.


[toggle title=”6. South Sumatra”]

Pempek: A fishcake made of spanish mackerel meat and sago flour. It is served with yellow noodles, sliced cucumber, and sweet-sour-spicy cuko sauce.


[toggle title=”7. Bangka Belitung”]

Mie Bangka: yellow noodles with spiced gravy consists of fish, squids, prawns or crab meat. Often served with beansprouts, sliced cucumber, and fish crackers (kerupuk ikan).


[toggle title=”8. Lampung”]

  • Seruit: a traditional dish consists of fried or grilled freshwater fish, sambal terasi (chilli sauce with shrimp paste), tempoyak or mango.
  • Serbat: drink made of kweni mango fruit juice. It is influenced by Arab/Turkish culture.


[toggle title=”9. Banten”]

Sate bandeng (milkfish satay): Different from usual dishes of milkfish, the milkfish in sate bandeng is very soft and boneless. This makes sate bandeng become traditional gifts.


[toggle title=”10. DKI Jakarta”]

  • Kerak telor: A dish made of chicken eggs, white glutinous rice, dried prawns, toasted grated coconut and spices. It looks like an omelette, but much spicier.
  • Soto Betawi: a curry consists of beef, beef entrails, tomatoes, coconut milk and spices.
  • Sayur lodeh: a vegetable curry consists of chayote, gnemon nuts, long beans, green papaya, unripe jackfruits, dried shrimps and coconut milk.


[toggle title=”11. West Java”]

  • Nasi timbel: A complete meal consists of rice wrapped in banana leaves (nasi timbel), fried / roasted chicken or fish, sayur asem (sweet and sour vegetable soup), sambal (chilli sauce), and fresh vegetables.
  • Serabi: a traditional pancake made of rice flour, usually served with sweet sauce made of coconut milk and palm sugar.


[toggle title=”12. Central Java”]

Lumpia Semarang: a springroll consists of bamboo sprouts, eggs, chicken or prawns. The tase is the mixing between Chinese and Indonesian cuisine, because this springroll was first made by a chinese man who was married to an Indonesian woman.


[toggle title=”13. Yogyakarta”]

Gudeg: A sweet dry curry consists of unripe jackfruit cooked in coconut milk. It needs hours to cook the dish. Gudeg is served with rice, thick coconut gravy, chicken curry, eggs, tofu, and sambal goreng krecek (a curry made of beef skin). We can find this dish easily around Yogyakarta.


[toggle title=”14. East Java Province”]

Rujak cingur: In Javanese language, “cingur” means “mouth or muzzle”, referring to slices of beef muzzle served in this dish. The dish is consists of sliced fruits, cucumber, tofu, tempeh, beef muzzle, beansprouts, water spinach and long beans, topped with peanut sauce.


[toggle title=”15. Bali Province”]

Ayam betutu: A whole chicken smeared with rich strong spices, then roasted in husk fire. Betutu is popular throughout Bali. Betutu is served during religious ceremony. It is also sold in restaurants and hotels.


[toggle title=”16. West Nusa Tenggara”]

Ayam taliwang: The specialty of Lombok. The chicken is roasted and served with sambal terasi and plecing kangkung (boiled water spinach served with sambal plecing, a very spicy chilli sauce with shrimp paste).


[toggle title=”17. East Nusa Tenggara”]

  • Catemak jagung: traditional cake made of corn, pumpkin, and mung beans. The taste is salty.
  • Daging se’i: Timor style smoked meat. The meat can be beef, deer, or pork. The smoked meat can 1 month in humid tropical weather.


[toggle title=”18. West Kalimantan”]

Bubur Pedas Sambas: a dish from Sambas region in West Kalimantan. It is a porridge consists of rice and vegetables.


[toggle title=”19. South Kalimantan”]

Soto Banjar: Chicken curry with special spices. It consists of chicken, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, and rice cake.


[toggle title=”20. Central Kalimantan Province”]

Juhu singkah: a traditional Dayak dish, made of rattan sprouts. This is the special dish of Palangkaraya city.


[toggle title=”21. East Kalimantan”]

Ayam cincane: a special dish of Samarinda city, consists of chicken with reddish spices. This dish is often served in wedding parties or when there are honored guests coming by.


[toggle title=”22. South Sulawesi”]

Sup Konro: Beef soup from Bugis and Makassar. It consists of beef ribs with blackish gravy, served with sliced rice cakes.


[toggle title=”23. Central Sulawesi”]

Sup Ikan Jantung Pisang: fish soup from Palu city. It consists of red snapper fish and banana heart. The taste is sour, spicy and refreshing.


[toggle title=”24. Gorontalo”]

Binte bilihuta: this dish can be found easily in all parts of Gorontalo. The dish consists of corn, prawns, grated coconut, bilimbi fruits, scallions, fresh basil, red onion and limes.


[toggle title=”25. North Sulawesi”]

  • Tinutuan: It’s also called Bubur Manado, a porridge consists of rice, amaranthus, water spinach, corn, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. It is usually served as breakfast.
  • Rica-rica: a traditional meat stew. The meat can be chicken, lamb, or pork. The meat is cook with some water, ground chilli and spices until all the water evaporates.


[toggle title=”27. South Maluku”]

Ikan asar: Skipjack tunas or mackerel tunas that are roasted by hot smoking method. This dish can be found easily on the roadside in the afternoon.


[toggle title=”28. North Maluku”]

Gohu ikan: A special dish or Ternate. It is made of raw tuna, served with sour-sweet-spicy sauce. No wonder that many people call this dish “Ternate style sashimi”.


[toggle title=”29. West Papua”]

Ikan Bakar Manokwari: a special roasted mackerel tuna native to Manokwari town. It is usually served with sambal Papua (Papua style chilli).


[toggle title=”30. East Papua”]

Papeda: Also called Bubur Sagu (sago porridge). This dish can be found in Maluku and Papua. Papeda is usually eaten with yellow fish curry consists of mackerel tuna, turmeric and limes.



From all the description above, we can say that Indonesia is really multicultural. No wonder many foreign tourists are willing to travel to Indonesia to blend into the vibrant cultures. Indonesian cultures also have philosophy that will open your mind. It is a shame that many Indonesian people, especially the young ones, don’t really care about their national cultures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.