Exploring The 17 Strange Rituals Only in Indonesia

For now, let’s dive into the one identity of our beloved country, Indonesia. In this country, things that sound magical and mystical still growing massively. People are still doing this kind of stuff even though modernization is face to face with them. Technology and science can’t stop them to continue doing what they do.

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Seeing this phenomenon that happens in this country, you may scratch your head with a lot of question, why are they still doing it, what’s their purpose of doing the rituals and such. To answer that, we need to know first what kind of ritual that they do. Sometimes it can be a good thing, but the other side is always be there. So, to understand the answer to the questions, we’re gonna explain some strange rituals only in Indonesia for you to find below :

1 – Ma’Nene

In the first ritual on the list, we want to introduce to you the one ritual in Indonesia called Ma’Nene. This one ritual is one of those kinds of ritual that you can not find anywher else beside this country. You can search it if you don’t believe it. There’s something mysterious and strange thing about this procession or ritual.

Ma’Nene is the tradition that belongs in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi. In the procession, the family will unciver the tomb of their dead family members. Then what they will do with them? They will clean them and put some clothes to them, like basically taking care of them. After dressing the corpses, they will take them around the village and then finally put them back in the coffin. They believe that their ancestor should be taken care of, even though they’re already dead.

2 – Penamou

Another ritual that may seem too controversial to the world’s eyes is Penamou ritual that held in Maluku area of Indonesia. This ritual related with pregnant woman and her family. So, she will be put into a house, a small house that far away from the village in order to give her mental and spiritual preparation.

Aside from the pregnant women, a girl who reaches her period for the first time will also feel the same ritual. The size of the house, however, is not that big. It’s like only 2×2 meters, which can only fit about a person or two. Any man can not enter the house after the particular date has passed.

3 – The Pandan War

War never changers, said by so many people out there. In Indonesia, you can also find rituals that related to this thing. But, of course, they are less deadly than those real wars. But the gore is still there. One example of this is the Pandan War. In this “war”,  each side uses the same weapon, which is the small Pandanus log.

They use it as a mace to attack their enemy. But, the log is not that safe green log. It still has some spikes on it, so touching it or got attacked by it can really hurt, for real. And also, they war in topless clothing, so you can imagine how painful that it. But, the adrenaline, spirit, and courage will take those pain away and bring an excitement and joyful instead.

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4 – Debus

Back to the history of how Indonesia finally reached the independence, the locals are only using some basic weapons like machete and bamboo, but they able to win the war later. How you might say. It’s because some of them are blessed with the Debus technique. Debus is the invulnurabilty to weapons.

You can find this tradition in the area of Banten in Java island. Usually they will show sets of performance, using weapons like knifes, machetes, and also very sharp needles that used on their body. But they still okay anyway, without any injury, even the small one. However, aside from the weapons, they will also show some performances like walking on the burning fire, getting hit by thick rattan, and chewing glasses. Real glasses.

5 – Nasu Palek

Sometimes, rituals are done because of the reason that they want to give sympathy to fallen friend or family member. The Dani tribe in Papua has a special way to show sympathy to the others, via the ritual or tradition called Nasu Palek. The ritual has a relation with knifes and ears. Can you imagine?

During the sad incidents that took away the life of their friends or family, they will cut their ears off in order to show the sadness and sympathy. The pain in their hearts is much worse. But, the procession is not done by all people in Danu Tribe, only several. To cure their wounded ears, they use natural medication technique by using leaves.

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6 – Ikipalin

Just the same like Nasu Palek above, this ritual called Ikipalin also done with the same purpose of care and sympathy. This ritual is also can be found in Papua island of Indonesia. Also, it’s also a ritual that done by the same tribe mentioned above, Dani Tribe. So for the people who don’t cut their ears, usually they do this instead.

In Ikipalin, the fingers will be cut to the middle. So from the nail to the center of a finger, that portion will be gone. Different from the same cutting finger procession in Yakuza community in Japan, when they’re not doing a good they cut their own fingers, Ikipalin procession is done as a way to show sympathy and sadness to the dead family member.

7 – Teeth Scraping

The next one in strange rituals only in Indonesia is the teeth scraping. Cutting down some part of the teet. If you’re going to an area named Mentawai island in the West Sumatra province, you have the high chance to be face to face with this procession. In this area, when a woman reaches the adult age, she will do the teeth scraping ritual.

They will scrape her teeth by using simple tools like stones and woods in order to make a different form of teeth. The people in the village will change the form of human’s teeth into something that looks like shark’s. So you can see that some women in there are having this kind of sharp shark-like teeth.

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8 – Ngayau

The next one is Ngayau. Ngayau is a tradition or habit of a tribe in Kalimantan or Borneo island called Dayak Tribe. During the war, in ancient times or today (if needed), they will do this thing called Ngayau. Ngayau is taking the enemy’s head off, by using weapons they have like knives, spears, and others.

The word Ngayau came from “Kayau”, which means enemy. So during the war, they will always hunt for the heads, the vital point of a person. Usually they’re doing Ngayau when defending their areas. And not all people can do this thing. Only certain ones who have the capability are able to do it.

9 – Heads Offering

Still related to heads, there’s one other ritual that we should mention here. The name of the ritual is head offering, done by a certain tribe in Maluku, the Saluku Tribe. This is an old tradition that only became history now. The last one was back in 2005 when they found mutilated corpses.

Of course, they have a certain purpose for this ritual. For them, offering their heads by putting some human heads on some locations can protect their houses from harm. But, back in the old days, this tradition is even used when a wedding is gonna happen. So the groom will bring the head as a gift for the bride.

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10 – Kebo-Keboan

Then for the tenth one, we want to introduce an interesting ritual, a usual activity done by the people in Banyuwangi during special times called Kebo-Keboan. Kebo basically means buffalo, an animal that usually used for helping farmers plowing the rice fields. In this ritual, several men will dress up as buffalos.

They will start to plow the fields, just like the original animals. This ritual always held during 10 Suro or 10 Muharam in the Alasmalang village in Banyuwangi. Kebo-Keboan is also a part of carnival that held once a year. However, the main purpose of this ritual is asking for rains in the dry season.

Of course, the ten rituals only in Indonesia above are not complete yet. That’s why we want to add the additional in the small list below that containing the other rituals that may seem interesting to learn and understand.

1. Tabuik

2. Cannibalism Ritual

3. Dugderan   

4.Burning Tongkang

5. Brobosan

6. Tatung

7. Tau-Tau

So that’s the topic about the strange rituals only in Indonesia, hope our list can expand your head with a lof of information about this country. As you can see above, each one of ritual can have different meaning to the others. We can’t say that all them are good or bad. That’s why we need to take a closer look to a certain ritual to be able to judge whether it can give a good karma or not.