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Batak Christian Community Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Batak Christian Community Church (Gereja Punguan Kristen Batak) is a Lutheran denomination in Indonesia. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, which it joined in 1972. It is affiliated with the Christian Conference of Asia, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, and the World Council of Churches.

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  • ✪ Batak, a Pilgrimage to Ancestor's Land (Full Movie)
  • ✪ The burial tradition of Karo Batak
  • ✪ Asia Plenary, WCC 10th Assembly


Batak. As an ethnic group, the Batak leave a very fascinating cultural trait for Indonesia. Ever since this culture was born in Sumatra, there have been many questions and opinions about where the civilization came from. According to Batak myth, it is believed that the first Batak people fell from the sky into the heart of Samosir Island, precisely in Pusuk Buhit, a place that is sacred to Batak people. Batak is a land where rituals and spells are inseparable from the existence of its society. When a part of the ritual is interrupted, the identity of someone else becomes disconnected. Derti Manulang owes a wedding cultural debt that she has been unable to pay since her wedding 20 years ago. She has not been identified as belonging to the Batak tribe due to her cultural debt. My husband died a long time ago, and because we could not afford it, we could not hold a cultural wedding. For her, the search for identity as part of the Batak tribe is also the search of her origin. In the search for identity and origin there are two sides to the coin. Origin will establish the identity and vice versa. Sibolga is one of the largest and oldest ports on the west coast of Sumatra. We hope to find traces of the original Batak people in here. Jon Simarmata is a Pencak Silat master in Sibolga. It has been agreed that he will demonstrate 'Moncak', the traditional Batak martial art, and give a little indication as to the origin of the Batak. Yeah, we'll show you the movements, and after that we'll hold a fighting demonstration. They will fight using martial art techniques adapted from Lintau Komando school. This music is 'gondang'. We will perform the movements of traditional self defence martial arts accompanied by music 'gondang'. I, myself, have been given a message that you should make the school movements in line with Batak tradition, because Pencak Silat was originally a body movement. Initially its about self defense. In Batak it is called Moncak, others know it as Pencak. [Stinky father!] Come on you guys, go ahead and demonstrate the movements! The little stones are not a problem, they will not do anything, just small stones like that. Let's take a break! Break out first! Tired! Because we are old now and not as strong as we used to be. We just showed some movements using the dagger. At the end, an understanding is reached, that no one can defeat another. They realize that they are equal, and then pay respect to one another. Jon is a follower of Malim religion, the original religion of the first Batak people. He comes from Barus and has his own opinion about the origin of Batak people. In the book from my 'opung' (grandfather), the story goes that Sirajabatak (the first Batak person) was from the rising sun, from the Middle East. Where in the Middle East we do not know. It is possible that they came from Egypt or Israel, but we do not know. From the Middle East then they go to the west, that's Barus. From Barus then they go to Pusuk Buhit. "After you reach Dolok Pusuk Buhit, below that area you should make a settlement at Sianjur Mula Mula, Sianjur Mula Jadi." In my personal opinion, men fell from the sky, right? Why? Because of Adam and Eve! But if it is said that Batak people descended from the sky, I cannot guarantee it. According to the ancient book Jon trusted, Batak people came from the land of the rising sun. They crossed the ocean on horseback with betel leaf pasted to the horse's hoofs into the sunset. This is the origin of the Batak, according to his version. His opinion sometimes does not please everyone. This woman claimed to have been possessed by ancestral spirits while talking to Jon about the origin of the Batak. Come here, let's sit face to face. Do not be afraid, just think me as your friend. You already knew that Batak obviously comes from Pusuk Buhit. So his village was there! That is the origin of Sirajabatak. We're sharing now, my logic is working right? Now we should only talk about logic! According to the theory of modern archaeologists, Batak culture is a result of migration from Taiwan, based on cultural patterns similar to Dong Son cultural patterns derived from Taiwan. If we take a look at the cultural map, they all have similarities from the ones in Sulawesi and the Philippines, the trait is just like that, and it happened around the 12th century. Well, on Samosir Island, we find some aspects of Dong Son decorative patterns. Dong Son culture is a cultural pattern that spread early from Taiwan, along the Philippines, to Sulawesi, then Borneo, and culminated in Batak lands. Up until now, it is the strongest theory about the origin of Batak society, although until now archeologists could not even find a trace of of them first landing there. So where they landed, we do not know, because it requires more detailed studies again. The one thing that really helped us in the search for the origins of Batak society was by clan numbering. If it goes back to the clan, then the oldest Batak society has now reached 18 generations, we can be sure the first time they began to have a structured Batak culture was around the 14th century. This brings us deeper into Barus. The centre of ancient civilization at the end of the west coast of Sumatra. Barus, in the 6th to 12th century BC, is the oldest international port in Sumatra. This can be seen from the trail of historical relics there. One of those is Papan Tinggi cemetery, the grave of the Sheikh that brought Islam for the first time to Nusantara (Indonesia), and also Mahligai cemetery, the tombs of 40 Persian merchants that also brought Islam in the 6th century, the era when Islam was born. This is the head, that is the feet. So, if we count, one, two, three, four, five, six. Seven people are here. If my estimation is correct, there are five hundred people here. If we see the head of the tombstone, there is only a Syahadat (confession of faith) sentence. "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet." For the first ten years that the Prophet was proselytizing Islam, there was no shalat, zakat and hajj command yet, only the confession of the faith. There was no command to shalat yet, from there we can make a conclusion, that in the era of Muhammad this place already existed. Barus is the first city where there is a lot of cultural assimilation from Islam to Indian, but the value of Batak indigenous culture in Barus has not changed. One of which is the value of people there of 'Malim', the indigenous faith of the Batak. God said that life and death is in His hands, but that does not mean He will apply it arbitrarily to man. The religious harmony in Barus is outstanding. Why? I'm a Muslim. In my family there are Parmalim, Christian and Catholic. So, through this we have made family ties of different religions. Custom is still strong here in Barus. Even in one of the villages in the Barus district, where 90% of the population are Muslim, Miller, as a Parmalim (Malim follower) became head of the village. So if there are some of our people, overwhelmed and cannot eat, or if the crops fail, they can use this stock to sustain their life. But they should return it after they get their crops later. As a city that had been so glorious, the problem of Barus now, is poverty. I have nothing after six years of being the head of the village! It just makes my head explode! I haven't receieved a single paycheque for the last six months. "Hey head of the village, my chicken just died, killed by someone." They bring it here! "There is a goat coming through my yard!" They also bring it here! Domestic disputes, I also take care of that! Don't you think it's hard? Be patient my children, to take care of me now, No use to hold a ceremony for me when I'm dead. Love me, your parent, while I'm still alive. Well, that's that! But do not call me to a recording studio! I never thought that this will happen. This is the ending of our love story. Broken, struck the reef in the ocean, did not reach the beach. Ooooh, now you and I drowned in the sea of romance. Oooh, wishing happiness to live together, but never fulfilled. That's that! Even as the head of the village, Miller has to do extra work as a fish seller at the weekly market. Cut my head if I can build a house from my salary as the head of the village. I sold three buffaloes in my campaign to become the head of the village! Not a penny back! So one day I sang and received one hundred thousand rupiah, directly inserted into my pocket, I felt like a diva with people dancing infront of me. Suddenly he took his money back again and directly inserted it into the box. Tuak! (Batak traditional alcohol) You don't need to be rich! You will regret if you die before drinking tuak! Must be enjoyed! If Miller does not come we are lonely, no clown! Just quiet and no smiles if Mr. Marbun is not here. Singing, entertaining, if he's not here, this fish market is very quiet. As long as I'm not stealing, I don't care what I do, as long as my family can eat. If I'm relying on my paycheque it will not be enough! It's not even enough to buy cigarettes! It turns out that the present location of Barus is not its original location. The original location of Barus in the 6th century has eroded by 25 kilometers due to the rising shoreline. That's why the graves from the 6th century were relegated to the hills. Lobutua, which means "The Oldest Village", is the ancient city of Barus. People there even believe that the land is over 5000 years old. Lobutua is the hometown of Derti Manulang. Derti is regarded in the community as a healer who can cure and connect people with the spirits of ancestors. As a shaman, every day she meets with many people asking for her healing and advice. Hopefully our good demand for it comes through God. We hope that our prayers will come true, because we've already been married for 3 years and haven't got any children. So we ask our ancestors, and God, to fulfill our prayers. We ask God to give the lineage to them. For Derti, this place is sacred ground. This monument was erected in honor of Raja Uti, an ancestor of early Batak people, According to Batak mythology, Raja Uti was the King in Barus, he is the third descendant of Sirajabatak, the first Batak person. If we pray to Opung Raja Uti from the heart, God will bless us. As a Shaman, Derti never sets a fee for every healing she performs. For Derti, she just wants to help others with the gift she has. She does not care if the patient will give her money later or just a handshake and thanks. Tonight Derti will perform a ritual for a young girl, who is under a spell, according to her mother. I think she (my daughter) forgot about me. I think she is confused and bewildered. All she has in her mind is going out with her boyfriend. Eat this betel leaf. Ready? Drink! The ritual tonight aims to remove the spell which Derti believes is in the stomach of the young girl. That must be a spell! If she vomits it out, she will be back to normal. There's still some inside her stomach, but I have to persuade her to vomit it out again. She has a version of the human origin of Batak consistent with what Jon believes. From the Lobutua village, all the kings went wandering. Wandering everywhere. Some went to Parapat, some to Pusuk Buhit. Scattered. -How do you know that? -Thats from the spirit! No one told me. It's from the spirit that whispered in my heart and ears. Lobutua, which once was one of the renowned cities, just as many areas around Barus, is also facing poverty. Culture, as an identity to be proud of, is facing a lot of challenges and is sometimes a burden. As faced by Derti, sixteen years ago her husband died. When they first married 20 years ago, they could not hold a cultural wedding ceremony because of their economic situation. According to the costumary Batak law, Derti still has to have a cultural wedding ceremony, even though her husband has died. This is referred to as a cultural debt. My youngest child does not know her father, she cannot imagine her father. My mother is old now, that's why I try to make the ceremony, even a small ceremony, as long as we make it, it does not matter whether it's big or small. There is some support from my family, but I will pay it back slowly. That's why I'm stressed now. That's why I love humour, it reduces the sadness of my heart. For Batak people, if the custom is not met, they do not feel full and complete as a human being. She needs at least 3 million rupiah to finance the entire process of her cultural debt, but due to a lack of money, she has decided to join the marriage ceremony of her nephew. During the wedding ceremony she will be given a special day to pay the cultural debt. She cut her own firewood to be used for cooking in the day of the customary feast. This is part of the devotion that she wants to give to her 100 year old mother. For the Batak, if someone dies before all their children are married according to custom, their death is not considered honourable. A few hundred yards from Derti's house, a family with better economic success, holds a Mangokal Holi ceremony. This family spent more than 100 million rupiah to hold this ceremony. Mangokal Holi is the ceremony to exhume the skull and remains from the grave and place them in the family tomb monument. This is one of the ancient Batak rituals that is still preserved in the present day. Batak is a tribal society that celebrates and revels in death, and buffalo has always been a symbol and tribute to every festival. So tomorrow is the first day of the ceremony, where we will dig up the bones of our ancestors that are still apart from our family monument. On the first day, around four o'clock in the morning, we are going to sacrifice this buffalo. Since morning, there are the sounds of 'gondang' (traditional Batak instruments). The gondang was named 'gondang Sabangunan', its purpose is to summon the spirits of our ancestors to be willing to come back reincarnated, to talk and give instructions to their descendants. After gondang or Batak music plays, the ceremony starts. Here they are going to call the spirits of ancestors in the 'Jabubona', or altar, which was built at the right side inside the house. That gondang was called the 'Datuk gondang', and the Tor Tor (Batak dance) was performed outside to repel evil spirits. After the Tor Tor and ancestral spirits have been summoned, the grave digging is ready for execution. Rowilko Tambunan died five years ago. He is one of the twenty skeletons to be dug up today. It's close. This person said the skeleton is in the middle. After exhuming the grave, the skeleton will then be put into a basket and the bones gathered up in scarves, to be carried in the same way as holding a baby. Once all the bones have been placed in a crate, then the skull is ready to be put into the family monument. Every year, in a coastal village of Lake Toba, located in Huta Tinggi, Laguboti district, an annual event is held, where Malim followers throughout Indonesia gather to pray and reflect. Jon, the Pencak Silat master from Sibolga Parmalim congregation, also attended the ceremony. He rode for 5 hours by motorbike to reach Laguboti. This is 'Parsahadatan', which means we all come to Balai Pasogit to submit to God that we are ready for the ceremony tomorrow. Opung Martogi, the wife of Miller Marbun, the head of the village in Barus, is also here. Miller was unable to attend due to a lack of funds. I was also down there! Malim religion, as a local wisdom, is a belief system that has not been recognized by the Government and people of Indonesia. They have only officially recognised the five major religions, Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hinduism and Buddhism. Although the situation has now been improved with the recognition of local belief systems, some followers of Malim religion still encounter discrimination. Jon's Father-in-law recounts that at school he could not sit his exam because of his religion. They said that Parmalim cannot sit the exam. I stopped school during the third grade of junior high school because I could not sit the exam. That's very sad. If I remember that I always want to cry. In Batak language itself Parmalim means 'the follower of Malim religion' or 'Ugamo Malim'. Malim religion is a modern form of the original Batak tribe religion. Parmalim had surfaced in the 1920s as a movement against the Dutch culture, the wisdom that is in it, is exactly the same with Batak early religion. The God of Malim religion is Debata Mulajadi Nabolon, the creator of heaven and earth, the universe, and everything in it. Malim religion has a leader that is called The King of Malim, that descended through the family line of Naipospos clan. This ceremony is called 'Sipaha Lima', a ceremony for the fifth month according to the Batak calendar. Now we will eat together. As the ceremony is held over three days in Laguboti, most participants stay in a hostel provided at the Parmalim complex in Huta Tinggi, Jon stayed outside the complex with his relatives, people with the same clan name as him. One clan, even though not of the same blood, if they are one clan by nature, they are considered family. For example, the 'Parna' clan, Parna clan consist Simbolon, Sitanggang Galingging, Nadeak, Simarmata, among others, same as me. Even from different clans, but those from the top of the same family tree, are considered family. Now we are preparing for the final ceremony, the Pamelean Bolon, where we will deliver offerings, known as Pelean Bolon, for The God, Debata Mulajadi Nabolon, Ruler of the universe. She's Christian. Even though we are Parmalim, we do not have differences, everything is safe and peaceful. We are all family. There doesn't have to be a misunderstanding when we have different religions. Religion, is a way to interact with God. Culture is a way to interact between humans. Whatever the religions, Islam, Christian or Parmalim like us, we will not have a dispute or fight because we live in our culture. That's why it is very rare to have a religious conflict in North Sumatra. The ceremony 'Sipaha Lima' itself is a thanksgiving ceremony. After people harvested in the third and fourth month, they will give thanks for their harvest on the fifth month. This is Sipaha Lima. [Be faithful, be faithful until death] Meanwhile, in Lobutua, the day for Derti Manulang's cultural debt is getting closer. Effendi Manulang, the nephew of Derti Manulang, just held wedding vows in the church and is preparing a cultural marriage feast. [Be faithful, be faithful until death] Music! Play the music captain! Ulos is a sacred fabric of Batak society. In each Ulos ceremony such as marriage, Ulos is always wrapped around the receiver, which in this case is the bride and groom, and is accompanied with messages and advice. In the Batak philosophy, the Ulos is wrapped around the recipient's body as a symbol for giving warmth and acceptance. Today Derti is really enjoying her nephew's cultural feast. Tired! Her nephew's wedding ceremony is almost over. Tomorrow she will have the opportunity to pay her cultural debt as a part of this wedding ceremony. [This is our Queen tonight!] [Give applause for the bride and groom!] Tonight is for the youth. It's the night for singing and dancing freely until morning. Derti has a lot of help from friends, relatives and villagers of Lobutua in the making of the customary ceremony. The villagers work together to cook and prepare the dishes for the guests. Derti even received a donation of a half buffalo, which is the main offering in the traditional Batak feast. I still remember and feel the sadness, but I try to make it go away. Sadness is just a usual thing. -She's supposed to make this feast with her late husband. -Yes, but now I'm just by myself. Only accompanied by my children. That's her sadness. Welcoming guests in our Batak tradition, the one holding the party should be prepared. Washing my hands! Ready to shake hands! After Derti welcomed her guests, it's time for her to walk to her birth mother to get Parsahat Upa Upa, the blessing from the bride's side. This ritual is supposed to be performed by her late husband, but because her husband has already died, it is Derti who visits her mother's house accompanied by her children. Mother, now you have reached 'Saur Matua' (all of the children are custom fulfilled) Now you can die in peace. In Parsahat Upa Upa, the 'Hula-Hula' which are the bride's family side, are feeding Derti bananas as a symbol of giving blessing. I'm happy, everything went well, as we were hoping. That's all. Of course I'm happy. Now I'm relaxed. That's the most important thing. [Senior musicians ready!] The core of Derti's customary party is held at night. Tonight Derti will receive Ulos from her family and relatives. Derti receives blessings and the warmth of her relatives after waiting twenty years to become a complete Batak person. After the ceremony has ended, Derti's relatives escort her back to her home, complete as part of the Batak tribe. Could Barus be the origin and landing site of the first Batak people? The origin of the Batak culture and society is yet to be revealed, whilst the research of history and the origins of Batak remains to be carried out. But without knowing the certain origin and history of Batak, the wheels of civilization will continue to run, and it is the Batak people of today that will determine what will happen to the future of Batak civilisation.

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This page was last edited on 5 January 2019, at 08:42
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