Sunday, April 15, 2018


West Sumatra is the homeland of the Minangkabau. The center of the Minangkabau culture is the highland of West Sumatra. This highland is ‘traditionally’ divided into three regions: Limapuluh Koto, Tanah Datar and Agam. All the areas outside (even the coastal areas of West Sumatra) are called rantau.

The fame and glory of the Minangkabau cultural society has existed since 500 AD. Legend has it that the Minangkabau descended from the wandering Macedonian tyrant, Alexander the Great. 

According to the legend, the ancestors of the Minangkabau arrived in Sumatra under the leadership of King Maharo Dirajo, the youngest son of Alexander, more commonly known in Indonesia as Iskandar Zulkarnain.

The Minangkabau are strongly Islamic, but also follow their ethnic tradition or adat. The relationship between Islam and cultural tradition is describes by the saying adat basandi syarak, syarak basandi Kitabullah. It means that the tradition is founded upon Islamic law, and the Islamic law is founded upon the Holy Qur’an.
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