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Seba Baduy: Banten’s closed Baduy Emerge from Seclusion


Do not miss this rare and unique cultural experience!

Mark your calendar:  On 20th-22nd April 2018 , the Seba Baduy, an annual ritual of the secluded Baduy (sometimes spelled Badui), -a sub-ethnic group in Banten Province-will take place when this normally isolated community will emerge and finally show themselves to the world, thereby allowing the public to catch a glimpse of this mysterious community that has held fast to their age-old ways of life.

Seba Baduy: Banten’s closed Baduy Emerge from Seclusion
Image source: factsofindonesia.com

The Baduy in the province of Banten, west of the city of Jakarta, is a sub-ethnic group that believes in keeping their villages completely closed to outsiders. Nor do they venture out of their own area, and for centuries have kept themselves to their own way of life. In time, two communities emerged, known as the Inner and the Outer Baduys. While Inner Baduys are not allowed to step outside their own periphery, the outer Baduys may do so, but must still strictly keep to their old traditions.

Seba Baduy: Banten’s closed Baduy Emerge from Seclusion
Image source: gardanasional.id

On this special occasion, however, thousands of both Outer and Inner Baduy will make the 115 Kilometers pilgrimage on foot, descending from the Kendeng Mountains where their secluded villages are located to enter the city of Serang, capital city of Banten Province. They will bring along with them a variety of fruits, vegetables and other crops to be presented as gifts to the province’s officials who symbolize the rulers of Banten. The tradition is said to span from the beginning of the 15th century which was passed down from the Sultanate of Banten, through the Dutch Colonial era, to the present Republic of Indonesia.

Seba Baduy: Banten’s closed Baduy Emerge from Seclusion
Image source: Shutterstock

For the Baduys, Seba acts as closure of the series of rites known as ‘Kawalu’, which is a 3 months’ long fasting rite. During this period, all outsiders are prohibited from entering the Baduy Villages.

Upon arrival in Serang, these guardians of ancient traditions will be ceremonially received and welcomed with great festivities. There will be art and cultural performances including traditional dances, Wayang Golek Wooden Puppet Theatre, Marching Bands, and a whole lot more. As done for generations, in this special ceremony, the leaders of the Baduy will express the villagers’ hopes and wishes and urge the Ruler of Banten on some application of good governance over his people.

Seba Baduy: Banten’s closed Baduy Emerge from Seclusion
Image source: www.kanekes.desa.id

The journey itself reflects the simplicity and sincerity of the Baduy people, characterizing their simple way of life. The tradition also shows that although they continue to maintain their own way of life away from all modernity, the Baduy are, nonetheless, open to coming out and mingle with other communities. On the other hand, the outside communities on their side continue to respect the Baduy way of life as shown by warmly welcoming their arrival: a perfect example of harmony and co-existence that has been sustained through many generations.


Photo source of header banner: Shutterstock


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