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1.Customs And Traditions

Customs and traditions in Minangkabau are called "Adat Minangkabau", which in
fact more than mere customs and traditions. It is the philosophy of life and the way of
thinking of the people. It comprises one's duties towards his ancestors, his
environment his decendants, and himself.

The adat minangkabau is bassed on worldly principles, and therefore there is a strong
convinction that it will survive and stands forever strong, lively and adapted, because
what is good should be taken, what is wrong should be thrown away; one should
look at the past as an example and one should learn from the winner. The adat
minangkabau teaches a demo cratic system of thinking, as it says that what seems
goods to oneself, should be agreed upon by others.
The principle here is that everything should be from all, by all and for all people.

2.Social System

The Minangkabau ethnic group is khown for their matrilineal social system: the family
descending from the mohter's side.
In this system, hertage, tittles and family name are handed down to the following
generation through the female line in the family. Minangkabau is a community where
matrilineal practices is such a pure from that a rather unique system, has developed.
A man is regarded as niniak mamak in his family, in sense, of his mother, sisters,
nieces, nephews and all descendant inthis line, and so in his mother's sisters' line. The
niniak mamak is responsible for the har mony and walfare of the home as well as for
the safety of heirlooms. The eldest among a brothers is called tungganai who is
respected as the leader in a family. One who is choiced among the tungganai and
appointed as the leader in a clan is called Datuak or Penghulu .
Though men have responsibility of the welfare and heirlooms in a family, but women
keep the keys to the family possession. Women are the heiresses of the family, and
they have the righs to live in the family house or Rumah Gadang , even after
It is not proper for men to stay at their mother's house. Therefore men leave their
mother's house at an early age. Many opinions agree that it is a strong reason which
motivate many young men of Minangkabau prefer to go abroad or Merantau instead
of staying at home village.

3.Traditional House

The Traditional house of Minangkabau is called Rumah Gadang that means big
house, or Rumah Adat that means customary house. It is called Rumah Gadang is not
because of its big size, but it refers to the big function of the house it self.
A house or Rumah Gadang in Minangkabau belongs to all members of relatives along
the mother's line which is called Kaum. The house is the place for all together at
happy or sorrow time, and also as the place for discussing and make decition for any
problem in the family (kaum).
For the name as Rumah Adat also refers to its function as the place for all Adat
(Custom and Tradition) ceremonies are held like wedding or inaugration of a head of
The original Adat House is made of wood and bamboo for the back wall. The roof is
made of palm vibre. It is about 12 to 20 metres long and 6 to 8 metres wide and the
position of floon is two to two and half metres above the ground.
The construction is expanded up with a horn shape roof. The roof looks like the horn
of watter buffalo with 4 to 6 points strech along the house, and a point in addition
forward for the front door and ladder.
For the expading form of the constrction, there is no any right angle connection for the
pillars with the horizontal bars of the house, Both, the upper and lower, horizontal
bars of the buliding.
The inside of the house is devide int 4 parts. They are :living quarters along one side
of that house that consists of five or more rooms, another side in front of the rooms is
a hall for meeting. In some houses, the meeting hall made with a raises floor as the
place for the houschold in a meeting.
At both ends of the house are rooms with a higher floor, called Anjung . The rooms
at anjuang are used only for a special occation, and usually used by a newly married
daughter of the family.
On both side in front of Adat House stand two rice barns flank the house. The wall of
the Adat House and the barns are adorned with colourful carving.


Minangkabau is very famous for its food, not only in Indonesia, but also in countries
abroad, such as Australia. Asia (Singapore and Malaysia), in Europe, and in
America. It is called Padang Food or Minang Food. Padang food is varied in kinds
and rich in spices. The taste is very specifik, and has no equal anywhere. Yet, it is
suitable for the tongue of most people. As a result both the men and women of
Minangkabau have become famous as good cooks.
Visitors to Indonesia need not worry about hunger, because hundreds of Padang
Restaurant or Rumah Makan Padang are waiting for them in nearly all cities and
towns throughout Indonesia, from Sabang, the town on the north point of Sumatra
island to Merauke in Irian Jaya, the town at the very eastern point of Indonesia.

More about culture (adat istiadat)



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