15 Unique Indonesian Traditional Lifestyle

Despite how modern the world has become, somehow Indonesia has managed to maintain most of its traditional lifestyle. Indonesians still practice and carry out these traditional activities in everything they do. Most turn them into a habit that are so ingrained to their daily life. People do them out of comfort, respect, social norm or a sense of an identity as an Indonesian.

The following are the 15 Indonesian Traditional Lifestyle. These are the things that are still practiced ever since the olden days.

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1. Offering Snacks to Guests

A traditional lifestyle that is very commonly seen in Indonesia is offering snacks to their guests. It’s a way of making them feel welcomed to their home. The snacks would most likely be biscuits, peanuts or any other assortment of food that they currently have at home. Other than snacks, they would often make some tea, coffee or drinks with syrup for the guests. Guests are expected to munch on some of the snacks and sip their drinks as a polite gesture.

2. Eating without Cutleries

That’s right, Indonesians don’t need cutleries to eat. Most people prefer to eat their food with their bare hands, even in public. Most restaurants would provide a small bowl of clean water with a slice of lime in it. The water is meant for washing the hands before and after eating. However, Indonesians only eat with the right hand as the left hand is rude for doing so.

3. Living with Parents after Marriage

Most couples who are already married in Indonesia still live with their parents. The reason for this could be financial but even those who can afford their own house might choose to stay with their parents. In Indonesia, it is sometimes very reasonable to do so. Parents are highly respected and children are expected to look after them especially if they are sick.

4. Using Plastic Scoop to Bathe

Showers and bath tubs are not usually used by Indonesians. Most still use a small, plastic scoop to wash themselves. Clean water is contained inside a huge marbled or tiled basin. Some may even use a huge sized bucket. A small scooper is provided to scoop the water out for bathing the body. It’s a very traditional way for Indonesians to clean themselves this way.

5. Consuming Rice

Rice is the most important staple food in Indonesia since the people cannot live without it. People eat it every day for every occasions that it has become so ingrained into the culture. Most homes own rice cookers so people can easily and quickly cook rice. Indonesians love to eat their rice warm with all kinds of side dishes. White rice is the kind of rice that is most consumed in the country.

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6. Wearing Conservative Clothing

Most small cities and villages in Indonesia still dress very conservatively. It is related to the traditional way of clothing oneself in a humble way. People would dress by wearing clothes that are not revealing. They try as much as possible not to expose their shoulders, chest and wear anything that rises up above the knees.

7. Playing Sports for Leisure

Children and even some adults fill their afternoons with playing sports. This can still be observed in a lot of neighbourhoods in Indonesia, both in urban and rural areas. Most neighbourhoods would have nearby fields that people can use to play football. It’s also a common sight to see people playing badminton on the street right next to their homes. They would move out of the way only if there are passing cars or motorcycles.

8. Learning Traditional Dance and Music

The Indonesian children are often encouraged to learn traditional dance and music. This is how Indonesia preserve their culture and traditions that they hold dear. Children are taught on the skills in their school. But, they may even still practice on their own or with their friends when they are free at home. With these skills, they can give a small performance at shows or conferences.

9. Working as Farmers or Fishermen

Being farmers or fishermen are still considered to be traditional jobs in Indonesia. These are the kinds of work that are common in the villages and close to the coastal areas. Other than working for the money, they work in passion and love for nature. They also already learned the skills from their parents since they were young. Some may choose to do it because it’s difficult to look for works in the city. However, many of them only want to let this traditional lifestyle of living to flourish despite the fast moving modern world.

10. Washing Clothes by Hands

Though there are washing machines available, many people still choose to wash their clothes by hands. People in Indonesia would wash their clothes inside a huge bucket with detergent. The clothes are then hang on a clothesline outside. Winds and the heat of the sun will make the clothes dry.

11. Husband as the Head of the Family

The traditional way of running a family is by having the husband as the head of the members. The wife and the children are expected to obey everything he says. In case the husband passes away, the head of the family will be the oldest child. Now the times are changing and most households have wives with equal authority as the husbands. You may also want to read the types of family in Indonesia.

12. Place an Older Person’s Hands to Foreheads

Young and old Indonesians still follow through with this very traditional lifestyle in Indonesia. It’s a very common thing for an Indonesian to do it to someone who is older than you. This is a similar form to shaking the hands but done with a lot of respect. Indonesians do this as a greeting or when they are about to leave.

13. Shopping at Traditional Markets

You can find traditional markets anywhere in Indonesia. People still prefer to shop there instead of going to large supermarkets. The traditional markets often offer fresher products that are relatively cheap. There are more varieties so people can choose what they want with ease. Another plus side of traditional markets is that consumers can still bargain with the sellers to save more money.

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14. Communal Gathering

There are many kinds of communal gathering in Indonesia. Almost every Indonesian holds one or is involved in one. An example of it would be the communal feast which is often called as ‘slametan’. It takes place to celebrate birthdays, marriages or to to remember a family member’s death. Another common gathering is called arisan. It’s a form of social gathering where money is circulated within a small group of people.

15. Sitting on the Floor

Sitting on the floor is not something that is strange in the country. Many people still do it at home or in public places. It’s a very traditional way for Indonesians to sit. Indonesians sit at the floor during a communal gathering, rituals or traditional performances. At home, Indonesians may sit on their bare floor as they are considered clean. They may also use a fabric carpet or a bamboo carpet called as ‘tikar’. People eat, converse and do their activities while sitting on the floor.

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All these traditional lifestyle will not be going away from Indonesia soon. People take pride in the activities as those are the things that make them very Indonesian.