Indonesia has more than 700 living languages. But the whole country is united by one single, official language – Bahasa Indonesia. On the other hand, Javanese is spoken by the majority of Indonesians as their mother tongue, although it does not have an official status. The country tolerates religious pluralism. Islam is practiced by 86% of Indonesians, although the country also recognizes Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
LITERATURE AND MUSIC
Ethnic Malays are fond of interactive, impromptu verbal poetry compositions known as “pantun.” Traditional music in Bali and East and Central Java is called “gamelan.” Popular during political campaigns is “dangdut.” “Keroncong” is Portuguese-inspired music while West Timor has its “sasando.” Bamboo instruments are used in West Java to produce “angklung” and “degung” music.
DANCE AND DRAMA
Most of the dances in Indonesia are based on mythology, with traditional dances usually depicting scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana, which are of Indian origin. Traditional dances from Java and Bali include “legong,” “kecak” or the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the “barong” and the trance dance called “kuda kepang” or “jatilan.
”Indonesia is famous for its shadow puppet theatre called “wayang kulit” that also showcases events culled from mythology. The folk theater of West Sumatra’s Minangkabau tribe performs the Randai during festivals and ceremonies. This form of wayang kulit incorporates many art forms, including silat martial art, drama, dance, singing and music. While wayang kulit showcases leather puppets, “wayang golek” uses wooden puppets, although the stories and legends they depict are the same.
According to a small survey conducted by YouGov conducted in 10 countries across four continents shows that one color – blue – is the most popular across the board. Between 23% (in Indonesia) and 33% (in Great Britain) like blue most out of the colors listed, putting it 8-18 points ahead of any other colour. However, the fun thing from this survey is that Indonesia in fact the only country who consider brownish clor as their top 3 favorites. This survey prove that Indonesian love of traditional brownish Batik is very much original. Traditionally, Batik cloth, which uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique is created from traditional wood bark essence which then formulated to create beautiful designs. The melted wax is either stamped onto the cloth with a copper stamp or hand-drawn with a hot wax pencil. Thailand and Malaysia also produce batik cloth but the color combinations and designs from Indonesia are quite unique and spectacular. Hand-woven cloths with silver and gold threads as well as intricately-designed cottons and silks are produced in Bali and other provinces.