Indonesia Country Profile
“Indonesia rich in its diversity in the culture, religion, tradition, and also the ethnic. The unique thing is that it does not separate the people because the diversity unites us –Indonesian, and it all started from a history”
Republic of Indonesia
1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles)
Indonesian, 300 regional languages
Islam (86,70%) Christianity (10,72%) Hinduism (1,69%) Buddhism (0,72%) Others (0,86%)
*data based on https://www.statista.com/ (2010)
The Indonesian archipelago first came about in the year 400 BCE at the rise of the Kutai Martadipura kingdom. In the 7th century, Indonesia became a valuable trading region under Srivijaya and Majapahit kingdom’s dominion with mainland China entities, the Indian subcontinent, and Middle Eastern empires.
Trading and foreign influences greatly expanded the diversification of religious knowledge in Indonesia. Hindu and Buddhist teachings by the Brahmanas of the Indians and Islamic teachings brought by Sunni traders and Sufi scholars from the Middle East; both influenced a great deal in the local kingdoms, such as Mataram Kuno.
Christianity was later introduced initially by Portuguese traders and continued by the Dutch, which eventually led to centuries of colonization that made up most of Indonesia’s early and modern history.
The Dutch “VOC” was the foremost colonial power for much of its 350-year presence in Indonesia, later followed by the Japanese for 3.5 years, monopolizing its natural resources such as clove, coffee, and nutmeg.
The concept of “Indonesia” emerged in the early 20th century as the country proclaimed its independence in August 1945.
A shared identity has developed under the slogan “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” as defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism in the Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it.
Expanding from Sabang to Merauke and known to have over 17.000 islands, Indonesia is widely known for its diversity in tribes, cultures, and local languages. Accordingly, in 2010, 1340 ethnic groups coexist in the country, each with its cultural uniqueness.
The wide-ranging diversity and vast territories in Indonesia led to countless unique cultures, desirable tourist attractions, as shown in the following section.
As stated previously, Indonesia holds many unique (Uni-Q) cultures and customs due to the high degree of diversity; therefore, this section will cover some of Indonesia’s unique cultures.
The Cia-Cia Writing System
Commonly known as Buton or Butonese language, the Cia-Cia language originates from Baubau of the Buton Island, Sulawesi. Cia-Cia is unique in its writing system, which is a mixture of the Hanguk Korean and Latin.
The Cia-Cia language itself is initially written in Arabic Gundhul script and later altered into Latin. It picked up the Korean language following the visit of a Korean professor who was fascinated by the diversity of the sultanate area and decided to engage further with the culture, which eventually led to integrating Hanguk into the local language.
It is important to note that as the era progressed, a general fear of language destruction began to rise amongst the locals.
Therefore, compounded by the locals’ enthusiasm for Hanguk influence into their language, the Butonese government made a partnership with the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute to construct the amalgamation of languages; now, the Cia-Cia language is further from extinction.
The Nyada Kasada Ritual
Nyadya Kasada is a traditional Hindu ritual by the Tenggerese people, the Javanese ethnic subgroup.
The Tenggerese live mainly around the Tengger mountains in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, while others live across Jawa, such as Probolinggo, Lumajang, Pasuruan, and Malang.
The Ritual, held on the 14th day of the Kasada month of the Tengger calendar, is done to honor and show gratitude to the God Almighty, Sang Hyang Widhi ancestral spirits, such as Roro Anteng and Joko Seger.
These wide-ranging cultural diversity and vast territories led Indonesia to be countless fascinating destinations, and one of the most desired tourist centers globally.
Bali is one of Indonesia’s most visited locations, known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, rice paddy fields, and historic temples.
The birth city of the civilization in Java, Yogyakarta, is another famous tourist center in Indonesia for its historical relics such as the Borobudur and Prambanan temples.
Others include Dieng Plateau in Central Java, Komodo National Park in Nusa Tenggara, oceanic beauty in Raja Ampat in West Papua, and a fascinating tour of traditional houses and cultures of Tanah Toraja.