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The Batak

The Batak people live in the north of Sumatra, in the hilly region of lake Toba. At the beginning of this century the last Batak were placed under the authority of the Netherlands. Most of them were christianized. The Batak form the largest protestant community of Asia. Nevertheless a lot of old traditions were preserved. More than 4 million people are Batak; it is one of Indonesia's largest population groups.
Actually Batak is a general name for 6 groups with different cultural and linguistic characteristics, but they believe in a descent of a common ancestor. The house model you've just seen, is for instance typical for the Karo Batak. However, all Batak have in common that they live on the growing of rice and have the same wedding system. The Batak are organized in 'margas', large family groups. The members of one marga can only marry a person of another marga. Upon her marriage the wife passes over into the husband's marga.


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