20 Social Life in Indonesia

In everyday life, individuals always do social relations with other individuals or groups. Social relationships that occur between individuals or between groups is also known as social interaction. The interaction between various aspects of life that we often experience in everyday life then it will form a pattern of relationships that affect each other so that in turn will form a social system in society. This is the so-called social process.

The social processes that occur in society certainly do not always go with the orderly and smooth transition, because the support of the given community has various characteristics. Similarly, social interaction or social relationships are manifestations of that existing social processes. The diversity of social relationships is evident in the social structure of a diverse society, such as Indonesia.

Social and cultural life in various regions in Indonesia is different. This difference is caused by various factors including the factors of civilization, communication, knowledge insight, and technological development. The various characteristics of social and cultural life in various regions of Indonesia can be seen from the following aspects.

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1. Religion

Religious life is very diverse. For people living in rural areas, religious life is influenced by their ancestral customs, cultural, and beliefs. An example is the habits of the farmers when they make offerings prior to planting the seeds in the fields. Fishermen offer offerings for “sea gods” before they went fishing. For people living in urban areas religious life is no longer influenced by customs, beliefs or habits of the past. This is due to the influence of easily accessible information, knowledge, and information technology.

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2. Kinship

People in various regions in Indonesia have a kinship system that is not much different. A kinship is a form of family that lives in the community. Kinship can be interpreted as a blood relation in a family either siblings who come from the same father and mother, stepbrother, sister-in-law, and other relatives. This kinship value is manifested in everyday life. An adjacent neighbor in a village is a brother. Village elders or tribe leaders become community role models. In urban areas, there are no so-called elders, there are only those who are community leaders, RT heads, and RW leaders.

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3. Social organization

Social organizations with different forms and goals develop in society across Indonesia and shape into harmonious life function. The organizational goal is usually to increase the value of kinship in performing tasks in society. These organizations include the youth group, the Village Deliberation Council, the Village Representative Board, and various village governance units up to the neighborhood level (RT).

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4. Economy

Economic activity is heavily related to the country’s natural resources. Geographical location is very influential on the availability of natural resources and livelihoods of local residents. Areas that are on the coast, archipelago, countryside, and mountains will have a diverse economic order. Most of the people living in mountainous areas work as farmers who cultivate plantation land. Residents in coastal areas mostly work as fishermen. As with urban areas, the economy is driven by a wide range of services, expertise, and trade activities.

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5. Language

Various kinds of regional languages are used by various tribes in various regions. The people of West Java use Sundanese language. The people of Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara) use Sasak language. In Sumbawa, people use Sumbawa language. The regional language of the population in the province of North Sumatra is Batak. Indonesian as a national language has a role as a unifying language among people of different languages. However, some remote areas or long-standing communities in the region are usually less well-versed in Indonesian.

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6. Lebaran

The most important family reunion is the day of Lebaran for many people in Indonesia, after experiencing one month of fasting they then celebrated the end of the occasion everywhere, within the families and also between friends by coming in their houses. Special Lebaran dishes are served for enjoyment such as ketupat and other great delicacies. All the People from the lowest strata to the president of the nation are sincerely happy to celebrate the day of Lebaran.

Many in between family, there is a ‘Sungkeman‘ tradition, that is asking sincere forgiveness and blessing in what they have achieved in life. In essence, Lebaran has turn to be regarded as the biggest social and national holidays. In this days and during the month, the people are using this celebration to ask for their forgiveness.

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7. Behavior

Generally, the way Indonesian people attitude toward each other is mainly based on their Islamic teaching that they get while they’re in school. Primarily in the form of how they consume stuff, sharia law ban pig meat consumption and alcohol drinking. But you can have these 2 things in hotels though because many foreigners are requesting it, you just can’t find on general restaurant scattered in western Indonesia, although for the eastern Indonesia you can find this stuff easily.

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8. Dress

The various number of the type of dress in Indonesia is astounding because the country is divided geographically and ethnically. Traditionally, these clothes greatly varied from area to area and even from village to village on the same island, but nowadays the clothing is moving towards modern westernized clothing appearance. Although the much example on traditional clothing, there are also many similarities. Normally, Indonesian women wore a kebaya, which is kind of a tight-fitting blouse, which is used with a sarong. This outfit is often colorfully bright and has influences from middle east giving it great differentiation. Men normally wore sarongs with a simple shirt.

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9. Neighborhood Gathering

In the evening some neighbors will gather and talk together in someone’s house, describing the experience of the day or something about politics, from time to time laughter can be made among them and they do this while consuming warm coffee and enjoying their much-loved cigarette. This kind of communal activity usually resides in villages while in urban areas people mainly mind their own business as tomorrow each of them has to work again.

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Other Social Life in Indonesia (10-20)

There are other social cultural life which still exist in Indonesia, as follows:

  • The Respect for Father and Mother: A great family tries to always put high regards for their parents, father as the chief of family and mother as a supporter. To honor the parents and your grandparents which mean always have them in high regards, to always remember the good things they have done, and forget the bad ones they might have caused.
  • Art and culture: Culture and local arts such as local dances, customs, customs houses, traditional ceremonies, regional musical instruments, and regional weapons. Regional arts groups such as ketoprak develop in Central Java, lenong in Jakarta, and ludruk in East Java. (read also: Indonesian Heritage)
  • Family Gathering: Today, when many cities in this country have much electricity, it seems that people in the evening try to gather with their own family watching TV soap opera. (see also: Traditional Songs of Indonesia)
  • The hobby of Domestic Pets: The favorite animal pets Indonesia people like to have are dogs, cats, and birds. There are several colorful cute birds which sing beautifully that adorned many houses.
  • Entertainment: Living in harmony and peace is very important for Indonesia people, harmonious life in the family with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Harmony gives out a successful sign in life, which in turn should give a great and healthy motivation of life. (read also: Customs of Indonesia)
  • Arts: Arts phenomena in this nation have been recognized since the start of ancient time, that is the traditional arts and cultures. But in today’s world, modern arts do exist side by side with the old one. Modern music is playing with the old ones and singing local and foreign songs could be listened and observed almost everywhere. Paintings and exhibition galleries showing their latest arts are on full display. (read also: Festivals in Indonesia)
  •  Visiting Each Other: The Indonesia value highly towards social life. Although they are sometimes busy, they do try to find time and opportunities to visit families and friends. Individualism is not popular here.
  • Drinks: In Indonesia the normal drinks you can choose from are tea and coffee, both of these come in varied varieties and usually served with sugar. Juices are also popular and in the right season are freshly squeezed.
  •  Staple Foods: Indonesian staple food is rice and their rice is cooked in varied styles and usually accompanies most meals that they had. (see also: Famous Indonesian Food)
  • Education: Many people in a rural area only consume education till high school while those in urban area consume college education. Hence this shapes the thinking of rural people who still need to be taught regarding certain knowledge and their old belief that they get from the elders that need to be changed.
  • Residence: people in the rural area like to have a communal living that is living together in one big house, this, in turn, will greatly enhance their appreciation towards one another. While in cities the individualistic option is much more prevailing as everyone only mind their own business.

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The social life in Indonesia needs to be understood from the roots levels so as to be able to comprehend it and spread the knowledge of it for future generation. The dilution of original social life in Indonesia due to the influence of western life need to be prevented so that the preservation of Indonesian unique way of life will continue to amaze outsiders who view Indonesia from the inside.