Baduy tribe – Indonesia is a special country. Unlike most countries which
only consist of one race or tribe, Indonesia consists of various tribes and races that inhabit Sabang to
The majority of tribes in Indonesia are living modern lives in urban areas. However, not a few
also prefer to maintain the culture of their ancestors and live simply without touching technological
sophistication. Some tribes in Indonesia even choose to live in the wilderness or a place far
from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the Baduy tribe is one of them.
The Baduy tribe does not live in the forest like other tribes in Indonesia. Instead of
forests, they live in villages far from the hustle and bustle of the city. The difference is,
you don’t have to visit where they live just to meet people from Baduy.
The reason is, unlike most other tribes who refuse to leave the area where they live and refuse migrants,
the Baduy people often leave the area where they live and walk in urban areas. It’s not
uncommon for those of us who live in the Greater Jakarta area to see them on the streets dressed in black,
walking barefoot, carrying simple cloth bags and selling honey or visiting relatives.
Even so, not everyone in Indonesia knows the Baduy Tribe. Many people who live outside the
Greater Jakarta area or Java Island may be unfamiliar with this tribe. If you are one of them,
let’s get acquainted with this Indonesian tribe.
The Origins of the Baduy Tribe
Those of you who live outside the Jabodetabek area may be curious about the Baduy Tribe.
Considering that you don’t live in the Banten area or around Jabodetabek, you don’t have the
opportunity to meet them. The Baduy tribe is a Sundanese ethnic group that inhabits the Kendeng
Mountains area, Kanekes Village, Leuwidamar District, Lebak Regency, Banten.
Just like most other tribes in Indonesia, the Baduy live side by side with the natural surroundings.
Even though they don’t live in the forest, the Baduy people really appreciate the forest that has
given life to them.
The origin of the name ‘Baduy’ itself is still confusing today, considering that there are many versions
circulating about the naming of the Baduy people. It is said that the name ‘Baduy’ was given by
the Dutch who once colonized Indonesia.
This story begins when the Dutch met the Baduy people in the Land of Sunda. Because the Baduy
people at that time lived sedentary lives, the Dutch equated them with the Bedouins in the Arabian Peninsula
who also liked to move from one place to another.
Another story says, the name of the Baduy tribe comes from the name of a river north of Kanekes Village.
This river is named Cibaduy River, and because these people live around the river, outsiders start
calling them the Baduy Tribe.
Interestingly, these people never refer to themselves as the Baduy Tribe, but Urang Kanekes alias Orang
Kanekes. The Baduy people believe that they are descendants of Batara Cikal, one of the gods
sent to Earth to maintain harmony in the world.
Another story says that the Baduy people are citizens of the Padjadjaran Kingdom who chose to exile
themselves to the Kendeng Mountains. It all started when the son of Sunan Gunung Jati named
Maulana Hasanuddin founded the Sultanate of Banten in the 16th century. In 1570, the second king of the
Sultanate of Banten named Maulana Yusuf succeeded in defeating the Padjajaran Kingdom based in Bogor, West
Unfortunately, when the majority of the people of Padjadjaran decided to convert to Islam, some others chose to
maintain the religion of their ancestors and fled to the Kendeng Mountains and live there to this day.
The Baduy Tribe
Unlike most Indonesian tribes, which consist of one group living in the same area, the people of the Baduy
tribe are different. Even though they are both Baduy people and live in the Kendeng Mountains
area, the Baduy people are divided into two groups, namely the Inner Baduy and the Outer Baduy.
Differences between the Inner Baduy and Outer
1. Clothing color
For outsiders who are not familiar with them, there might not be a big difference between the two.
In fact, these two groups have some differences. The first, most striking difference
can be seen from the color of their clothes.
Outer Baduy people usually wear black or dark blue clothes. Meanwhile, the Baduy Dalam choose
2. The meaning of the color of the shirt
The difference in the color of these clothes actually also has its own meaning. The clothes of
the Outer Baduy are often worn in black or blue which means simplicity.
The white clothing of the Baduy Dalam people symbolizes purity as well as a sign that they still adhere to
the customs of their ancestors and reject the presence of technology in everyday life. The
Baduy Dalam people are very closed and depend on nature for their lives.
3. Openness To Foreign Cultures
Compared to the Inner Baduy people, the Outer Baduy people are more open to outside cultures.
They began to wash with soap, use electronics, and even gladly welcome foreign tourists who come to
visit, and allow these tourists to stay at their homes.
The Outer Baduy people live in fifty villages scattered in various areas at the foot of Mount Kendeng.
Meanwhile, the Baduy Dalam live in three villages and are led by a traditional leader known as
Pu’un. These villages are Cikeusik, Cikertawana, and Cibeo villages which are separated from
the Outer Baduy villages.
Religion Adopted by the Baduy Tribe Society
Regarding beliefs, you might think that the Baduy people are Muslim. But in reality, they do
not adhere to any religion that is recognized by the government.
Just like most other tribes, the Baduy or Kanekes adhere to a religion of ancestral beliefs.
They worship the forces of nature and also their ancient ancestors, known as the Sunda Wiwitan
In the teachings of Sunda Wiwitan, there are three realms, two of which are inhabited by humans.
The first realm is called Buana Nyungcung, namely the realm where Sang Hyang Kersa resides.
The second realm is Buana Panca Tengah, a realm inhabited by living humans. Finally,
Buana Larang, aka hell, is a place where bad people are tortured after they die.
Just like other religions, the Baduy people also have books, places of worship and also chanted prayers.
To worship, people from the Baduy tribe will go to Pamunjungan which is in a hilly area.
There, they will sing songs or songs complete with some dance moves.
The prayers of the Sundanese Wiwitan religion can be found in the book which is their guide in life.
This book is known as the Book of Sanghyang Siksa Kandang Karesian. The Book of
Sanghyang Siksa Kandang contains religious teachings adhered to by their ancestors during the Sunda Kingdom
hundreds of years ago.
A Closer Look at the Life of the Baduy Tribe
The majority of Baduy people work as farmers. However, in contrast to most farmers who plow
their fields using buffaloes and even tractors, the Baduy people, especially the Baduy Dalam, prohibit
four-legged animals from entering their territory.
Apart from rice, the Baduy tribe also grows coffee and tubers. Some of the harvest is usually
used to meet daily needs, some are sold to other people. Apart from farming, the Baduy people
also enter the forest to look for honey.
Women usually weave cloth to make clothes, headbands, belts, and also typical Baduy bags known as Koja.
Besides being used for long trips, Koja is also sold to tourists who come to visit.
In contrast to the majority of people who live in urban areas, who don’t care and even dare to destroy
nature, the Baduy people actually really appreciate and protect the nature around them where they live.
Their respect for nature is clearly reflected in how they live their lives, even when they build
The Baduy people do not carelessly build houses. They took everything into account, including
the direction of the sun’s rays. Therefore, the houses of the Baduy tribe always face north or
south. In addition to the direction of the house, they also use natural materials, namely
bamboo and wood that they get from the forest.
For the foundation, they used river stones, woven bamboo as floors and walls, and dry coconut tree leaves
as roofs. A typical Baduy house usually consists of three rooms.
The first room is used as a living room or a weaving place for women. The living room is used
as a bedroom. Finally, the back room serves as a kitchen for cooking and storing crops from the
Abstinence of the Baduy Tribe
In contrast to most people who live in cities, and choose to live freely without being bound by too many rules,
the Baduy people still adhere to the rules passed down by their ancestors.
It doesn’t matter if the rules are very old, they are still carried out to this day. Indeed,
not all Baduy people are this strict in terms of rules. The Outer Baduy people tend to be more
open, but the story is different from the Inner Baduy people.
As previously explained, the Baduy Dalam adhere to the customs inherited from their ancestors.
They also have a set of prohibitions that they are not allowed to do in life. Here are
some taboos of the Baduy Tribe.
1. Not using modern transportation
As modern humans, we are used to using various modes of transportation to go anywhere.
Starting from public transportation such as buses, trains and public transportation and even buying
motorbikes and cars for our personal vehicles.
It is different with the Inner Baduy or Outer Baduy people who are anti-vehicles. In their
village, no Baduy people have vehicles and no vehicles are allowed to enter. Instead, they
relied on their two legs to get everywhere.
This also applies when the Baduy people travel outside their territory. If you ever meet Baduy
people, they are always seen walking somewhere.
2. Do not use footwear
Besides being prohibited from using vehicles, Baduy people are also prohibited from using footwear, be it
sandals or shoes. Again, this rule still applies even if they go out of the area where they
Imagine, walking everywhere is tiring, especially without shoes. If you do what the Baduy
people do, your feet will get blisters because it will be difficult to withstand the heat from the
3. The door of the house must face north or
As previously discussed, the Baduy people are very careful in carrying out various activities, especially if
those activities are related to nature.
Apart from using all materials from nature, the Baduy people also always build their houses facing north or
south. This is done so that their homes can be fully exposed to sunlight.
4. It is forbidden to use electronic goods
As modern humans, we obviously cannot live without electronics. It’s not just electronics like
televisions, or fans, we can’t even stay away from our smartphones .
A day without a smartphone will feel like a century. Feeling how important
a smartphone is , some people are even willing to turn around if they leave their
smartphone at home.
The Baduy people are just the opposite. Since childhood, they have never been acquainted with
electronic goods. Instead of having fans or televisions at home, the majority of Baduy people
also don’t use smartphones .
Nowadays, some outside Baduy people are already acquainted with electronic goods. But still,
the electronic goods used are also very limited.
5. You may only wear all black or white
One of the characteristics of the Baduy tribe is that they always wear black clothes. This
clothing makes them easier to spot on the streets.
Most people usually wear clothes in a certain color because they like that color. However, for
the Baduy people, the color of their clothes is part of their identity.
The all-black clothes show that they are from the Outer Baduy. Meanwhile, the Baduy Dalam
always wear white clothes. Compared to the Outer Baduy people who often travel, the Inner Baduy
people never use technology in their lives, and never leave their village.
6. It is forbidden to wear modern clothes
Clothing trends are one of the fastest changing trends. Every month, there are new clothing
trends that are interesting to try. People who live in cities are usually easily influenced by
the various types of clothes that are currently trendy.
However, no matter how cool clothing trends are currently popular, the Baduy people will never be
interested in wearing them. This is because since childhood, they are accustomed to wearing
black or white clothes that are sewn manually. So do all the people who live in their
For those of us who are used to living in cities, wearing all black or all white clothes every day might
seem boring. However, for the Baduy people, wearing clothes that are currently in trend is what
they, especially the Baduy Dalam residents, will see as strange.
The life of the Baduy people is indeed much simpler than those of us who live in urban areas and are very
close to all the advanced technology that is around us. But on the one hand, they are also
worthy of being an example for those of us who live in cities. One of their good examples is
how much they care about nature and really like simplicity.
They realize that no matter how advanced life is, humans will always depend on nature. The
destruction of nature, will make humans threatened. We who live in cities, are we aware of
that? Instead of protecting it, most people deliberately destroy nature for their own sake.
Even if nature is damaged, humans will also lose.
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