Interesting points of Minangkabau Culture

Minangkabau culture is one of many distinct cultures in Indonesia. The Minangkabau ethnic group originated in West Sumatra, one of the provinces in Indonesia with its capital city Padang. They inhabit the western part of central Sumatra.

The culture of Minangkabau is very unique. Up until now, this ethnic group still retains a matrilineal culture which means a line of descend from a female ancestor to a descendant of either male or female. Property and family name are passed down to maternal line. Schwede stated that they are reputedly the world's largest matrilineal society (Schwede, Laurel Kathleen, Ph.D).

The Minangkabau ethnic group is also devout Moslem which sometimes seem to conflict with their tradition (Adat) and Islam that uses the patrilineal system. The present relationship between the Islam and Adat is described as tradition that is founded upon Islamic law, and Islamic law is founded upon the Qur’an (adat basandi syara’, syara’ basandi kitabullah).

The Minangkabau people are well known with the tradition of merantau for males. Men usually leave home and go to other area far away from home to seek their fortune. They will come home to show their relatives in the village their success during the time of merantau.

Minangkabau is also known for various of its arts and craft. The famous arts and crafts are songket (hand woven in bold colours with artificial gold thread), embroidery, silver jewelery and wood carving.

Another arts from this area is self-defense called silek. Silek has a base of dance movement in Minang culture besides the influence of Islamic tradition and agrarian cultural tradition.

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