Understanding Customs According to Experts to Examples in Indonesia!

Definition of customs – Indonesia is a country with a heterogeneous population, each of which has different traditions, culture and habits in each region. It’s no wonder that our beloved country has various customs.
These different customs include norms and values ​​that the community must uphold in their daily life. The values ​​in question, for example, social, religious, cultural, and so forth.

Meanwhile, these norms, traditions, and values ​​should still apply today. Sinaumed’s, in order to recognize and ultimately preserve customs that have been painstakingly maintained for generations, it is important to know in advance the meaning of the customs themselves.

Definition of Customs

Below is the definition of customs according to various sources, such as the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), experts, to the official website.

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) , custom is a code of conduct that is passed down from one generation to another as an inheritance, so that its integration is strongly related to patterns of community behavior.

As for etymology, the word custom comes from Arabic, adah which means habit or method. So, it can be interpreted that custom is an act that is repeated so that it becomes a habit that must be obeyed by the community in an environment.

Thus, customs are basically cultural behavior or rules that have been attempted to be implemented in a community environment. It is called by this name because it is a rule that applies with certainty and steadily, covering various consequences that govern human actions or actions in their social life.

Indonesian Customary Law


Definition of Customs According to Experts

The following is the understanding of customs from the perspective of experts. Let’s find out, Sinaumed’s!

Raden Supomo

Customs are interpreted as a synonym of unwritten law or customary law. In state legal entities, this law applies as a convention and life also becomes a rule with habits in village and city life.

Jalaludi Tunsam

According to Jalaludi Tunsam, customs come from the word adah which means ways or habits, this term also refers to an idea which contains cultural values, norms, customs and laws of an area. There are also written and unwritten sanctions if the customary law is not obeyed.

Notopura Harjito

Harjito said that customary law is an unwritten law. For the community, these customs are a way of life to achieve prosperity and justice.


Strong ties and influence in society are owned by customs. This bond depends on and supports habits in society.

Customary law

There are so many meanings that carry the term “customary law”. What is customary law?

Habits that are done repeatedly create customs. Then, these habits were passed down from generation to generation. After the emergence of customs, there will be customary law that develops in the community’s traditions. This law is quite different from the written law that exists in state law.

For Van Vollenhoven, a Dutch anthropologist, customary law is the whole rule that binds the way people behave. This rule applies to certain areas, complete with appropriate sanctions.

Meanwhile, Ter Haar said that customary law is the whole of the regulations that are embodied in customary decisions.

From the various definitions of customs put forward by these experts, it can be concluded that customary law is an unwritten regulation or norm whose creation functions to regulate people’s behavior. In customary law, there are sanctions and this law is even regulated in the 1945 Constitution, article 18B paragraph (2).

In other words, the state also recognizes the existence of customary law as the Indonesian legal system.

Elements of Customs

Sinaumed’s, the following are the elements included in a custom, as quoted from the Textbook of Customary Law , Yulia (2016).

  • There is a person’s behavior
  • Do it continuously
  • There is a time dimension
  • Followed by others

As for several other elements as expressed by Koentjaraningrat who divided customs into four special parts, namely as follows:


Cultural values ​​related to a person’s role in his environment and life are the meaning of the norm system. Everyone has a role in the values ​​and functions in social life.

Cultural values

Interpreted as a shared view embodied in habits passed down from generation to generation. In Indonesia, the hallmark of inter-community cooperation is mutual cooperation.


Of course, we know enough about the law. In social life, the legal system is quite clear because it is a set of rules that can be seen clearly. This system has been implemented in people’s lives for a long time in order to create an orderly atmosphere.

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Special rules

This is a rule that regulates very limited and clear activities within the scope of social life.

Examples of Customs

After getting to know customs better through understanding, customary law, and elements of customs, let’s find out and understand the existence of various examples and forms of very diverse customs in Indonesia!

Javanese Customs

In Java, the people are identical with the attitude of upholding the customs of their ancestral heritage. Javanese people also have various traditions and customs, from marriage, pregnancy, to death, they still preserve them.
Here are some examples of customs from Java to know:

1. Sekaten

Sekaten is a ceremony held to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Every year, this ceremony is held at the North Alun-Alun of the Yogyakarta Kraton and is attended by thousands of residents, even tourists.

There, the Palace will carry out a procession or parade of mountains of local people’s produce paraded by royal courtiers and Kraton soldiers.

2. Marriage

We know that for the Javanese people, marriage is indeed considered very sacred with quite complicated customs. Today, many people have abandoned this tradition for various reasons.

On the night before the ceremony, the bride and groom need to do midodareni and siraman. Not only that, there is also the custom of surrender, when the groom gives the bride’s belongings. After the contract procession, there is also the tradition of balang ordering or throwing betel leaves, panggih or the meeting of the bride and groom, and dhahar klimah or bribing each other, and sungkeman.

Sumatran Customs

As one of the largest islands in Indonesia, Sumatra also has various customs which are still highly respected by its people. Sumatra consists of several provinces that have various traditions, for example North Sumatra with different customs from Aceh Province, and also different from South Sumatra Province.
Here are some examples of Sumatran customs:

1. Mangongkal Holi (North Sumatra)

The Batak people are still preserving the Mangongkal Holi custom. This tradition itself is a ceremony to dig up old graves and then take the bones of the corpse to be transferred to a new grave.

The Batak people believe that people who have died do not mean they are really gone. It is believed, they step on a process that is more perfect, namely the eternal realm. In fact, the spirits are also believed to be able to gather with other family members who have died.

The Mangongkal Holi custom has been passed down from generation to generation, and sometimes it is accompanied by the creation of a Marga Monument.

2. Nganggung (Bangka Belitung)

This custom from Bangka Belitung Province is carried out to commemorate Islamic holidays, such as the Prophet’s Birthday, Isra’ Mi’raj, to welcoming important guests. Community members in this custom must bring trays filled with food to the mosque.

Before eating it, the contents of the dulang are prayed for by local religious leaders.

Judicial Practice Handling Cases of Traditional Law of Archipelago Tribes



Kalimantan Customs

Not only the islands of Java and Sumatra, Kalimantan, which holds various cultural treasures, of course, also has its own customs which are still being preserved by its people.
Consisting of several provinces allows Kalimantan to have various traditions and customs. Not only in the form of traditional ceremonies, this cultural wealth also includes language, traditional clothing, special food, dance, music, and so on.

Here are some examples of customs from Kalimantan, Sinaumed’s:

1. Maccera Tasi

This tradition is still maintained by the people of Kalimantan today. In the form of a ceremony, the Maccera Tasi tradition involves a procession of slaughtering sacrificial animals, such as buffalo, goats or chickens at sea. The blood from these animals is thrown into the sea so that it becomes a symbol of giving blood to marine life.

This custom is carried out aiming to get abundant marine products.

2. Bath Tian Mandaring

To commemorate the 7th month of one’s pregnancy, this Tian Mandaring Bathing ceremony is performed. This tradition, which resembles Mitoni for the Javanese people, requires a mayang fence made of tied sugarcane stalks. Inside the fence, placed mayang water, flower water, kamal acid shampoo, and so on.

Sulawesi Customs

Sulawesi is one of the Indonesian islands which includes various tribes. Not surprisingly, in it there are various customs, cultures, and traditions that the people adhere to. Among them, there are several traditions related to Islam.
The following are examples of Sulawesi customs:

1. Mappalili

The tradition in the form of a traditional ceremony called Mappalili is usually held to start the rice planting season. Led by an ancient Bugis priest known as Bissu, this ritual is performed by gathering Puang Matoa at the arajang house, where the rice field heirlooms are stored.

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Bissu Puang Matoa, wearing a striped shirt combined with a plain white sarong, will lead the event.

2. Pregnancy Customs

Of course, the period of one’s pregnancy really needs special attention, especially for the Bugis community. The time from the beginning of pregnancy to the fourth month is called by the local community as angngerang. At this time, the families of both parties must fulfill the wishes of the expectant mother, especially if it is in the form of food.

After entering 7 months, it is necessary to hold an anynyapu battang ceremony in which both families prepare various foods with certain symbolic meanings. As for this ceremony, the prospective mother and father will be bathed and dressed in traditional clothes and then side by side.
They will also be surrounded by their families and choose certain foods.

Balinese custom

Not only the people of Indonesia, Bali is widely known, even almost universally. This island, which is also known as the Island of the Gods, is still steeped in tradition even though it has been visited by various people. The people consistently preserve their traditions from generation to generation.

In Bali, even the wealth of customs and culture is one of the attractions for domestic and foreign tourists to witness it firsthand.
Geographically, Bali is indeed small. Even so, its cultural wealth is never inferior to other regions in Indonesia. As the dream island of many people, Bali also has traditions that are very well known to various parts of the world. For example, the tradition of cremation alias cremation which is always crowded with visitors.

Sinaumed’s, here is an explanation of some Balinese customs.

1. Ngaben

As we know, cremation is a funeral ceremony that has become an ancestral heritage and has been carried out by the Balinese people for hundreds of years. Balinese people who are Hindus believe that the ancestral spirits will become holy and rest in peace by burning the bodies.

Financially, this ceremony requires relatively large costs. Because it involves a lot of people and there needs to be a burning stage. For this reason, people who are less fortunate usually wait for some time to be able to carry out the cremation at the same time.
That way, the cost of this ceremony will be lighter because it is shared between several families.

2. Omed-Omedan

The Omed-Omedan tradition is quite unique. Balinese people hold the Omed-Omedan ceremony, in which young people aged 18-30 years will face each other after celebrating Nyepi. In this ceremony, they will be splashed with water, fight, then kiss each other to end it.

It has been around for decades, this tradition is still being preserved today.

Papuan Customs

Who doesn’t know Papua? This easternmost region of Indonesia has a variety of cultures that are very interesting not to be missed. Very famous for the Dani tribe who have quite unique customs, this can actually add to the uniqueness of culture in Indonesia.

Here are some examples of Papuan customs that you need to know:

1. Rock Party

One of the celebrations carried out by the Dani tribe is a rock-fired party. This party is held to celebrate marriage, birth, until victory over war. In a rock-fueled party, people will cook various types of food, from tubers to pork for consumption together.

Meanwhile, the food will be put into a hole filled with rocks and leaves. Later, food will be distributed to all villagers. When starting the process, the Dani tribe will start a fire by rubbing stones until sparks appear; the traditional way.

2. The Mummy Tradition

As a final example, there is also the tradition of mummification which is carried out as the name suggests: preserving the corpse. This is a custom of the Dani tribe. The difference is that they don’t bandage the corpse, but dry it in the sun and then store it in the cave.
One of the oldest mummies of this tradition is around 300 years old, which was left in the house and sometimes removed when tourists were interested to see it. Even though it seems terrible, this tradition is very interesting, isn’t it?


Sinaumed’s, those are various explanations related to customs , especially in Indonesia. Apart from getting to know the meaning, laws, and elements, we are also familiar with various kinds of customs in Indonesia which will be very much to explain in this article, so many and varied.

Of course, we can preserve our regional customs by first getting to know, learn, get used to, and consistently apply them in life. Don’t let many traditions slowly disappear because of apathy and reluctance to do things that aren’t too ordinary, OK?

Customary Criminal Law