Indonesia is one of the largest Asian countries in the world and is situated in the South Eastern part of Asia. This country is the 4th most populated country in the world with a population of 238 million people. But due to its large land area, the population density is not too high. It is natural for a country with such a large population to have a great cultural diversity and difference in lifestyle, languages, cultures and religions. Culture and people in Indonesia are directly or indirectly linked with one another because culture decides the way the people are and the people are the ones that form or go by the culture of a place.
People in Indonesia
Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world with more than 80% people following Muslim religion and customs. But apart from Muslims, people from many other ethnicities and groups live here and some of them include Javanese, Sudanese, Madurese and other ethnic sects. A total of 583 languages are spoken in this country and many other dialects too are used. Bahasa is the national language spoken in Indonesia which is very similar to Malay.
It would be fair to say that people in Indonesia coexist quite peacefully with one another and this is inspite of rare ethnic conflicts in some remote areas of the country.
Culture of Indonesia
Indonesian culture is shaped by many different factors like history, people, traditions, modern influences and diversity of area and religion. There is no one particular dominant culture followed by Indonesians but Hindu culture of the former empires is a basis for the cultural transitions of Java, Sumatra and Bali. Let’s learn about some specifics of Indonesian culture:
- Wayang- this is a form of puppetry which Indonesia is popular for and is a part of the rich cultural heritage and history of this country. It can be considered as one of the Indonesian art forms.
- Modern day culture in Indonesia is dominated by Javanese, which is the largest ethnic group in the country.
- Unity in Diversity is the national motto of Indonesia and this philosophy shapes the thinking and conduct of people belonging to different groups, religions, cultures and areas of the country.
- All Indonesians have great family ties and give their parents, siblings and other relatives a lot of importance and respect.
- Infact family members have clearly defined roles and are interdependent on one another.
- Hierarchy is a part of the Indonesian culture and such relationships are not only respected but also maintained.
- People in Indonesia are very careful about their conduct in public or in front of their seniors, both in terms of age and status/society holding.
- A handshake is a common form of greeting in Indonesia and is accompanied with the word ‘Selamat’.
- Many Indonesians have just one name but in changing times, many people are keeping both a first name and a surname.
- The dressing up style or etiquette for Indonesians is conservative and tight fitting clothes are frowned upon.