Indonesia is a country with a unique culture because the country itself consists of thousands of ethnic groups spread in hundreds of islands. The culture in one area could differ greatly from the culture in a nearby area.
Example of Report Text about Indonesian Culture
Here are some examples of report texts about culture in Indonesia, mainly about food, etiquette, and art.
1. Kebiasaan Makan di Upacara Adat (Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions)
Around 90% of the Indonesian population is Muslim. That’s why the most widely known ceremonial occasion related to food in Indonesia is the fasting month or Ramadan. In that whole month, Muslims would fast from sunup to sundown despite the tropical climate Indonesia has. After sundown, they are allowed to “break-fast” or buka puasa. At the end of Ramadan period, Muslims celebrate Idul Fitri, a national holiday usually lasting for two days when families and close relatives gather, share food treats, and strengthen their bond.
There are also other traditional rituals where certain kinds of food are served to spirits of ancestors or relatives who have passed away, and then eaten by participants. The Javanese ritual called selamatan is a meal held on many different events, like marriages and funerals, and can be done both in religious and non-religious way. There are many variations of the selamatan which differ among ethnic groups.
For example, among the Meto of Timor ethnic group, selamatans must have meat and rice (sisi-maka‘), the meat is cooked by men and the rice by women. Funeral traditions of some tribes even involve drinking a mixture of pork fat and blood, but this does not apply to non-Muslims because of religious reasons so they are allowed to dine at separate rooms.
Meal traditions for Indonesians are a symbol of hospitality, social status, and wealth, whether for a Toraja buffalo sacrifice at a funeral or a luxurious Javanese wedding party in a grand hotel in the city center. Animal sacrifices on events serve as gifts for attendees, with higher-ranking guests in society getting better parts of the animal and vice versa.
Learn about Indonesian vocabulary words for food.
2. Etiket (Indonesian Etiquette)
Etiquette is a great deal for Indonesians. However, in crowded places like bus rides, roads during rush hour, and public shows like sports matches, Indonesians might strike as having bad etiquette for pushing and shoving around. In marketplaces, Indonesians have the habit of bargaining too much. Women and foreigners might experience being catcalled by Indonesians.
However, this does not purely mean etiquette doesn’t exist in Indonesia. In Indonesian homes, there are humorous banters and lots of laughter. People have the habit of sitting properly with their feet on the floor, with legs uncrossed, while senior guests are allowed for better seating. Guests are always treated well in a polite manner, and drinks and snacks are usually served after a short while to be enjoyed by the guest. In meals, people also eat politely, without showing greed or gluttony, and hosts usually asks pardon if not able to serve a bountiful of meals.
Another etiquette of Indonesians is using the right hand, whether to shake hands or pay money. This tradition originates from Muslim customs. Slight bows are usually given to guests, elders, or more respected people. Some Indonesians, mostly Muslims, also touch their heart area lightly after handshaking. Indonesians do not have the habit of explicit confrontations, they mostly avoid conflict or tend to settle one in a well-mannered way.
However, a weakness common among Indonesians is their bad punctuality, we even have an Indonesian term for it: jam karet (rubber watch). Another striking feature of Indonesian etiquette is that opposite sexes, especially in more rural traditional areas, rarely display their affection publicly.
Read more about Indonesian communication etiquette as well.
3. Seni Pertunjukan (Indonesian Performance Arts)
Indonesia has a diverse range of performance arts: Javanese and Balinese gamelan or orchestra, shadow plays like puppet shows (wayang), Sundanese bamboo musical instrument performance (angklung), and many more. Arts from different ethnic group have ingenuously-produced costumes and instruments. One of the most complex ones is the Balinese barong costume and gamelan orchestra setup.
Ramayana is an example of one of the best known Javanese and Balinese wayang show, with many puppeteers or dalang who can play multiple puppet roles all night. If you have ever visited Bali, you’ll know that you can watch so many ethnic performance arts there, and they are mostly performed by Balinese villagers.
There are also contemporary performance arts as a result of Western influence, but this is mostly found in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Jakarta has a special place called Taman Ismail Marzuki which serves as a national heart for arts, like theater, dance, and music. These performances usually reflect political themes.
Learn more about famous Indonesian phrases/idioms.
That’s the example of report text about Indonesian culture. We hope these sample report texts help you understand Indonesian culture better. Don’t forget to check out Indonesian words you need to know and Indonesian conversation examples!