Ambon is on of the islands which is now a province of Indonesia called "The Province of Maluku". The main island of Maluku are Buru, Ambelau, Boano, Ambon, Saparua, Seram, Gorong group, Watubela group, Banda group, Kai group, Aru group, Tanimbar group, Babar group and other small group of islands spreaded on the ocean between Sulawesi and West Papua. Maluku is the province having the biggest number of islands which area is the sea as the biggest percentage. In this writing the current province of North Maluku can not be separated such as Halmahera, Ternate and Tidore islands. Historically Ternate and Tidore were once had important role in the history of Maluku archipelago.
The location of each island or each group of islands is far and the means of transportation among islands is limited within a long period. This situation has caused much of the island were in isolated status until just recent years when motorized boat reaches the islands. The population of Maluku is a typical beach settlers living as fishermen, and small number as farmers. Census in 1971 recorded the number of population was 1.088.945. In this very short account not all islands of Maluku will be presented, as in detail the difference are great, while in general the island of Ambon as one of the most developed area. Maluku can represent the diversity of the region.
Traditional villages on the island of Ambon was built along main road closed each other, or in a group of houses separated by land. This small group of houses is called "Soa". The original houses of Ambon, the same as Nias, Mentawai, Bugis, Torajan, and other ethnic groupsof Indonesia, is built on high wooden poles. Many soa which are located close each others from a village called "Aman". A complex of aman called "Desa" which is also called "Negari" headed by a "raja". The center of the negari will be seen with the existence of meeting hall, house of raja, church, mosque, house of the clergy, shops and various stalls.
The Living Of Ambonese
The people of Ambon most of them are traditional an very simple farmer, reminds use about the Nias, Mentawai and Dayak. They clear and burn forest plant the crops' seeds only using wooden stick. The main subsistence of Ambonese, as well as other people of Maluku is Sago the inner content of a palm tree, the same as the people in West Papua. Although rice is now cooked but not totally change the sago. The traditional process of making sago is exactly the same as simple way on northern shore of West Papua. Other crops they grow in small scale are rice, coffee, potato, tobacco, banana, mango, durian and cloves. Cloves, Ambon has been known by European as the source of spice.
The cultivation of spice is not complicated, just planted on a cleared land around heavy plantations.
Hunting wild animal such as pigs, deer and casuary birds using traditional trap which will hang the animal when the trap is stepped.
Kinship system of the Ambonese is based on minimum leanage called mata-rumah, where a group of relatives of patrilineal relation. This unit is called fam. Bigger unit of fam is famili. Fam give the traditional rules on marriage, and use of land among patrilineal relation, while famili also has the same function. The Ambonese introduces 3 ways of marriage, fled, a couple left their house, so the family of youth and girl will lost and realized that their son or daughter has left from house to marry. For the couple this way is preferable to avoid procedures, but is not convenient for girl's family. When a couple left their house for marriage, the youth family that will actively tracing and discussing with relatives, the parents of girls and other families to solve and completing the process. A youth when he plans to marry by taking the girl away, usually has been known by girl's family. The youth with the help of his friends or his relative will take the girl in her room and bring all her clothing away. An envelope with letter will be put on the bed of the girl. After the girl is taken away she will be under protection of youth family. In this case a girl is lost or taken by a youth for marriage, and left marriage gift on her bed, it means girl's parents do not know who is the youth. Second way is normal marriage request which will be organized by youth parent, the same as other ethnics of Indonesia with big marriage gift, why this system is not preferable, especially for poorer people. Beside marriage gift which is to much, also the feast makes the family over burden, Third tradition is a marriage, that the youth move from his family to the girl's family. This is caused by inability to give marriage gift, or the youth family do not approve the girl due to different social status.Polygamy is allowed among moslem, but forbidden in Christian society. Although among Ambonese Moslem polygamy is allowed but not practiced like in Java and Lombok.
Social organization in Ambonese society, as mentioned above consist of the head of "Soa", and many soas become a "Negari" headed by a "Raja". The position of raja is based on geneology, although tradition rules to appoint based on election. Other traditional positions are 'tuan tanah" an official expert in land and it's people, Kapitan is a war expert, Kewang is a forest watcher, Marinyo is news pronouncer. All above traditional officers as a body of traditional government is called "Sanitri". The actual daily administration of the villages is actually done by the head of soa both traditional affairs and the government of Indonesia. The striking social character of people in Maluku is the big number of social organization or association.
The existence of Patasiwa and Patalima for the people is very important. Pata means part, undoubtedly a word of Sanskrit "patha" in English "part" and "siwa" means nine, lima means five. So in short there are an organization of "9 parts" and "5 part". The organization of Patalima is belong to the people living around Mala river and Teluk Putih on Seram island. This organization is divided into 2 groups, the patasiwa hitam and the patasiwa putih. No one of the people can explain the origin or concept of this organization anymore. See from the history where Ambon or Maluku was under the influence of Ternate and Tidore kingdoms for years since 1500s, it was assumed that this division was to give a mark to each of above kingdom colony. That is patasiwa hitam must give her skin certain tato, so this assumption bring to a conclusion that the tradition of patasiwa and patalima was originated from Ternate or Tidore. In the past it was said that patasiwa hitam who give the face tatuage, was member of secret organization who often beheaded their enemy.
Other organization are girl's association or Jajaro and youth organization or Ngungare. When a girl married outside her soa the Ngurare can block her way out if the white cloth gift is not yet delivered to the parent of the girl. While on west Seram there is more freedom to a girl to host guests, picnic, and wear beautiful dressing during ritual of the tradition.
Other organization in Ambon is called pela, which members are between soas or villages. This pela can be divided into pela keras, pela minum darah, and pela tempat makan sirih. Pela keras involves the co-operation in urgent need such reciprocal assistance in hard work, war and others. It is forbidden to marry between member of pela keras. While pela minum darah is almost the same organization with oath of mixing their drop of blood from their finger then the drink together. Pela makan sirih was formed to get reciprocal assistance in constructing Church, Mosque, and School. The formation of pela was believed as a result of the continues pressures from kingdoms of Tidore, Ternate, Dutch, and Portugais. Other organization is muhabet, an organization to organize all the need of death ceremony.
The ethnic conflict involved the archipelago in the year of 2000 until 2005 has totally changed the vision of both Moslem and Christian of the island. Many people thought it was related with past movement of Maluku independence, but later found the fact that it has relation with Islamic terorist who got support from outside.
Baduy Unique People
Bali Land and People
Batak Ethnic Land and People
Bugis Land and People
Indonesia Chinese People
Dayak Interland Society
Flores Island People
Javanese Cultural Center
Mentawai Island People
Minahasa Land and People
Nias People Society
Sasak Land and People
Sundanese Land and People
Timor People Society
Toraja Land and People
The West Papuan Tribes
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.
- Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting see description
- Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century see description
- Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. see description