Sunday, July 31, 2022

Batak people

The Batak are descendants of a powerful Proto-Malayan people who until 1825 lived in relative isolation in the highlands surrounding Lake Toba in Sumatra. The word Batak is believed to have originally been a derogatory term meaning “primitive” used by lowland Muslims to describe highland people.

The Bataks are believed to have descended from tribal people who lived in Burma, Thailand and southern China. Language and archaeological evidence suggest that the Austronesian-speaking people of Taiwan have moved to the area the Philippines and Indonesia about 2,500 years ago.

They speak distinct languages that belong to the Austronesian language family and that share a common writing system. Currently, the Batak numbered about 6.1 million.

The Batak people in the past relied heavily on agriculture and hunting, and farming was made possible by the freshwater of Lake Toba. They farmed mostly rice and other horticultural products like collecting forest products such as animals from the wild, hardwoods and honey among others.

There are lots of Batak people still maintains the original concept of their ancient religion. Batak myths and rituals focus on the yearly cycle of rice cultivation activities and the local kinship system. Batak religions tie these two realms to a larger cosmological order, which is then represented in various religious art forms (traditional house architecture, village spatial layout, and wood sculpture) and ritual activities (dances, oratory, and gift-giving ceremonies).

There are six major Batak societies in the homeland region around Lake Toba: the Toba, Pak Pak/Dairi, Karo, Angkola, Mandailing, and Simalungun. The Toba Batak, located in the center of the region, are known for their hand-woven textiles. Made exclusively by women, these cloths are used as traditional clothing and ritual gifts of exchange.
Batak people

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