Trip to the matriarchal society of Minangkabau

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Trip Duration Days - 14 Days

Trip to the matriarchal society of Minangkabau

Price Starts from € 2550

Organized and guided by Anna Boyé, photographer and anthropologist.

This is a very special trip to a matriarchal society. It is a unique trip for its anthropological characteristics of exploration to the world of matriarchates, and for the degree of personal involvement with local people.

We will travel to the island of Sumatra, washed by the Indian Ocean and belonging to Indonesia. The island has an approximate population of fifty million people, mostly Muslim. To the west of the island lives the minangkabau community, a matriarchal society of more than four million people, which despite being governed by the norms of Islam, there women have a predominant role in daily life.

We will visit the western part of Sumatra, cities like Padang and Bukittinggi, or villages like Patangahan or Palupah. We will live in a minangkabau house and visit families in the area. We will take a walk through the rice fields, buy in the markets and discover the great beauty and exoticism of the place through Lake Maninjau, the Merapi volcano, the Nyarai Sianok gorge, the paradise island of Pulau Swarnadwipa ...

We will be the guests of Eli's family, our guide minangkabau, who will delight us with the elaboration of traditional Randang (Buffalo meat) food. We will attend a traditional wedding. Among the minangkabau, the groom and the bride, during the treat, sit on a shared throne, "one throne for both." It means that "they are one in body and soul, and that they speak and decide everything together." We will visit in Pagaruyang the palace of the mythical queen Bundo Kanduang, mother of the minangkabau people.

During our stay in Sumatra, there will be times for discussion and analysis of these matriarchal customs, so different from our own habits.

It is not a journalistic journey.

Extension of the trip 3 days + to the Bukit Lawang Orangutan Reserve, in Medan (OPTIONAL)

There is a place in the world where women inherit the earth. A place where the house and family assets pass from mothers to daughters and where the lineage is transmitted by women. A place where consensus is the basis of the collective and nature a guiding teacher. In the west of Sumatra live the minangkabau, a matriarchal community of more than 4 million people, whose ancestral traditions place the mother at the center of society.

The minangkabau community is a society full of spirituality and love. His ethics says that women and men complement each other "like nail and flesh." They cooperate by distributing power and different social functions.

Matriarchy is not the opposite of patriarchy, but a very different way of articulating reality.

It all started on the slopes of the Merapi volcano. The Minangkabau culture was forged in ancient animist kingdoms that related the essence of life with the fertility of the fields and the fertility of women. This is how Adat was born, the set of ancestral beliefs that structure the values ??of this community.

Islam reaches Sumatra in the thirteenth century, from the Arabian peninsula, through Muslim merchants and settled on the Island until it became the dominant religion at the end of the sixteenth century. For a long time Adat and Islam lived together peacefully.

Minangkabau women inherit the land, the house, the ancestral valuable objects of the family and the jewels. This matrilineal form of high inheritance, which is transmitted only from mothers to daughters, is the most unique feature of this society. Most women work. The economy is based on women's work. We can find them in their chores as businesswomen, midwives, pedagogues, nurses, teachers, in a shop, in the market, as nurses, holding public or political positions ... Also in the work of exploitation of the lands of the pusaka or high inheritance.

Among the minangkabau the values ??of the common good are highly appreciated. The mother transcends the social order and fills it with kindness and peace. It is not only the body that bears fruit but the soul becomes deep and sows content in the hearts of the children. Boys and girls are educated equally. You learn from lived experiences. In the family, an agreement is always reached in decision making. Possessions or money do not mean power. Power is to reach consensus on all issues of life.
- Date: July 2020
- Duration: 14 days / 13 nights
- Price per person (based on a group of 8 or 10 travelers) € 2,550 + flight
- Price per person (based on a group of 6 travelers) € 2,700 + flight
- Extension of the trip to the Bukit Lawang Orangutan Reserve + € 300 (OPTIONAL)
Day 1 - Flight Barcelona or Madrid - Padang
Travelers and travelers begin the journey. They will have to take three flights in transit to West Sumatra, Minangkabau land. The first flight to Amsterdam first thing in the morning. -After Amsterdam / Jakarta and finally Jakarta / Padang. Waiting time at airports is short and the trip relaxed, although long. You can let your heart prepare to share the traditions and culture of this minangkabau matriarchal community.

The minangkabau community: There is a place in western Sumatra where the mother's love and generosity are values ??respected and loved by all and structure the essence of a society based on mutual consensus or agreement between man and woman. A place where the mother occupies a central place and the women receive in inheritance, the pusaka, which are the house, the land and the ancestral assets of the family, which pass from mothers to daughters. The lineage is transmitted by women and nature is a guiding teacher. A community of four million people.

Day 2 - Arrival in Padang 11h Minang (Victorious) kabau (buffalo)
The flight from Jakarta to Padang will land around 11 in the morning in this city of just one million inhabitants. Padang is the capital of West Sumatra and the political and administrative center. The island of Sumatra is divided into 10 provinces: Aceh, Bangka-Belitung, Bengkullu, Jambi, Lampung, Riau, Riau Islands, West Sumatra, South Sumatra and North Sumatra.

West Sumatra is minangkabau territory. In Padang the language minangkabau is mainly spoken. The population is more reserved and conservative than in Bukittinggi, our final destination. There people like to talk and share a lot.

Padang has, as in the whole minang territory, a special architecture: the roofs of traditional, arched and pointed houses represent the sharp horns of a buffalo. The story that refers to the origin of this construction, tells us about the struggles that existed between the minangkabau and the Javanese invaders. During the contest the opponents face two buffalos to decide the end of the battle ..

The enemy presents a strong and aggressive buffalo and the minangkabau community to a hungry young with very sharp horns that only wants milk to breastfeed and satisfy its hunger. The fierce buffalo tamed by the presence of the young, relaxes, and that is when it approaches the imposing animal to suck and nails the horns, causing death and thus deciding the end of the battle. The moral is that with force you don't win the fights. The minangkabau community is very peaceful, cheerful, loving and patient.

In the ancient city of Padang you can also see the Dutch colonial building near the Muara river. Padang was one of the main cities of the Dutch East Indies. Since the 16th century it has been an important commercial center. After three and a half centuries of Dutch rule, Indonesia gained independence shortly after World War II.

A minority of the city's population is Chinese and has its own neighborhood. On the outskirts of the city we can explore a landscape of beaches with palm trees, small fishing boats and simple local restaurants. Padang's cuisine is very popular. Use all kinds of fish, meat, vegetables ... delicious, spicy and more or less spicy cuisine, always accompanied by rice.

Two 4X4 with air conditioning await us at the airport that will accompany us throughout the trip. We are about to start this adventure. The airport is about 40 ′ from Padang.

Navigation to the island of Pulau Swarnadwipa and tour of the islets

Upon arrival in Padang, and after chatting a little and getting to know each other better, we will have a tea or a soda in one of the characteristic small establishments of the route and we will move to the port of Padang to catch the boat that will take us to the Swarnadwipa Island.

The journey to the island lasts approx. 30 ′. It is a beautiful and unique route, where we will leave behind small islets ... Upon arrival and in a paradisiacal environment we will settle in small bungalows a few meters from the sea and review the program. We can also start the first contact with the minang community, bathe, eat, rest, swim, snorkel and admire tropical fish. We are on a tiny island.

Dinner and night on the island. PC

Day 3 - Patangahan: meeting with the family of Feb Rianti and his family Minangkabau
After a special night on the beach and enjoy the island. We will get up for breakfast, swim, relax, share ... and around noon, after lunch, we will say goodbye to the island and return to Padang in the same barge with which we arrived. We will start the road to Bukittinggi nerve center of the minangkabau culture. The small town is about 20 ′ from the village where we are going to settle: Pakan Kamis in the Patangahan district.

In all this area the minang tradition is deeply lived. Our house is spacious with 4 double bedrooms with bathroom. It has a large room and a large kitchen overlooking the rice fields. Rice is the characteristic crop of agriculture in the area and the country. It is a private house with garden where we will stay only the travelers, as a friendly clan.

Upon arrival, the family of Feb Rianti will be waiting for us, the hostess who is a nurse and a midwife. Feb Rianti is the sister of our guide Eli, translator of the minangkabau language. Eli will always accompany us.

Febrianti will prepare a delicious traditional randang meal made with varied meat and vegetables, and we will also taste the butter tea, so peculiar and typical of the region. Then talk and exchange. Feb Rianti's family is lovely. He will teach us to cook the randang and prepare the butter tea. PC

Day 4 - Merapi Volcano
A special day awaits us, we will make an excursion to the Merapi volcano, which means “Mountain of Fire” (1891m). The Merapi volcano is still active. It will be a tour that will allow us to walk through very virgin areas. We will arrive at the volcano by car, and we can take a more or less daring tour, adapted to the needs of each traveler @. On the slopes and surroundings of the volcano lie the minang villages. We are in the cradle of the community. In this matriarchal soil the land is fertile and nature guides the way, "she is a teacher who teaches us," as they say here.

Adat (ancestral matriarchal customs) is a mixture of local animist traditions with Hindu and Buddhist philosophies (S.VII) that merchants brought with the spice market.

It all started on the slopes of the Merapi volcano and in this fertile land that makes the seed germinate, as well as in the body of the woman who gives life to the offspring and makes the community bigger. Always by our side is the protection of the Merapi Volcano and this matriarchy that syncretizes with Islam.

During the route we will visit small minang towns like Batusankar and Pariangan with the characteristic minangkabau construction and we will have the opportunity to enjoy the company of the local people. PC

Day 5 - Patangahan: visit Bukittinggi
Bukittinggi (117,000 inhabitants) is the nerve and commercial center of the entire region. We will enjoy the color and exoticism of the market: live fish, chickens, meat, vegetables, fresh spices, exotic fruits ..., new flavors for our palate. We will live the exuberance of the place with its women and men, the merchants of the area that acquire their products. We can also observe the wealth of the clothing market with all kinds of fabrics for clothing and clothing. Fabrics made with gold thread, batik fabrics, cotton, traditional or everyday clothes and the warmth of these people who, when they greet you, put their hands on their hearts.

Bukittinggi is located on the Bukitbarisan mountain range at a height of 930 m above sea level, and enjoys a dry and pleasant climate. If you want to go around the city you can do it in small horse cars.

A souvenir of the passage of the Dutch colonizers through the area, is the Clock Tower (Jam Gadang) that is located in the central square of the town. From this tower there is a panoramic view of the city and we can appreciate its architecture, houses, streets ...

In the center of Bukittingi, in the Taman Bundo Kanduang Park is the Rock Fort built in 1825 by the Dutch, and a picturesque pedestrian bridge that communicates with a small zoo. There is also a beautiful and old traditional minangkabau house (rumah gadang) that is kept in very good condition.

The local people are not very used to tourists and welcome you with a hospitality full of tenderness. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to attend a women's meeting chaired by a Bundo Kanduang, wise woman of great social and political prestige. Bundo Kanduang organizes women's meetings to solve community problems. The women elaborate in inti or ball of wheat flour or corn with sugar and molasses, which serves to sweeten the problems and means the mutual agreement, base that structures the thinking of men and women.

In this meeting there will also be talk and exchange of cultures and we will celebrate a dinner dinner that women will prepare for us. PC

Day 6 - Patangahan: traditional wedding Minangkabau
Today we will continue to deepen the minangkabau culture and visit a family in the area. As many weddings arise at this time, we will set the goal of the day to attend one, as special guests. Couples marry according to the Islamic rite and the minangkabau rite. During the treat, according to the Minang tradition, the bride and groom sit on a single throne, because men and women are like "nail and flesh", the two complement each other. It is a good opportunity to take pictures! People in the community love them.

At night, if the group is still strong, you can take a tour of Bukittinggi. MP

Day 7 - Cow race or excursion
Pacu Jawi, the cow race in the mud, takes place at the end of the rice harvest season. The best cow is the one who knows how to keep her way straight for as long as possible. The rider rides a bamboo yoke tied to a couple of animals while holding on to their tails. Peasants and farmers, cattle breeders and buyers gather to celebrate an exhibition of strength and dexterity of cattle, to select the best specimens and set their price.

Dinner at Eti's house, with the company of a minangkabau traditional music singer, family friend. She will delight us with her voice, her strength and deep knowledge of these songs transmitted from mothers to daughters, generation after generation. MP

Day 8 - Patangahan: Payakumbuh gorge, Harau Valley, Minang villages
Harau Valey, the Harau Valley will be our destination today. We will explore the gorge of Payakumbuh, a landscape of great beauty. We are about two hours from home, it is a change of environment and a landscape full of exoticism. We will visit the small minang villages and take a tour of the area. The spectacular granite walls of the valley is the first thing that will impact us. This land is full of surprises like the virgin waterfall hidden in the exuberance of the forest where we will bathe. Our guide will show us the fauna and flora of the place and we will have the opportunity to meet his family and stay in two bungalows that his wife and he run. PC

Day 9 - Palupuh Village - Patangahan
Our guide Eli will accompany us to the village where he was born, Palupuh. There we will have an interesting experience: we can taste the most expensive coffee in the world 400 E / Kg, which is obtained by a curious process. The grains are ingested by a mammal called "the palm civet", which digests them only in part and the coffee is subsequently collected between their feces. We are in the Raflesia Park Botanical Garden, in Palupuh, where the world's largest flower is born: the Raflesia. If there is luck, we will have the chance to see it.
It flourishes during all year. It is a fleshy reddish or orange flower with five petals that can have a diameter of more than two meters and a weight of more than 10 kg. It remains open for 5 to 7 days and gives off a foul odor to attract scavenger flies, which are the insects that pollinate it. It is a plant that grows on tree roots. We will make a route through the Botanical Garden and eat through the area. You have to wear good shoes. On the way back we will return to Pakan Kamis, the village where our house is located, and people who want to can do the massage with Nurlis, the wise woman who applies traditional medicine and healing. MP

Day 10 - Singkarak Lake
Quiet and relaxed day, picnic on the shore of Lake Singkarak, the largest lake in Sumatra. It has an area of ??107 square km, 21 km long and 7 km wide. A landscape full of peace, fishing villages and rice fields. We can taste the fish bilih species that only lives in this lake. Share with the locals. And we will bathe in the calm waters of the lake. (We will need a t-shirt and shorts for the bathroom, out of respect for the minang traditions). Then we will return to our village. MP

Day 11 - Patangahan: excursion to Pagaruyang. Visit to Bundo Kanduang Palace
Departure to the town of Pagaruyang and visit the palace of the mythical Queen Bundo Kanduang, the mother of the Minangkabau people. She ruled the kingdom of Pagaruyung. She was a wise woman who harmonized society and bequeathed the Adat, ancestral customs, to the minangkabau. In the political organization of a village receives the name of Bundo Kanduang the woman who arranges women's meetings and teaches them the essence of Adat. She is a counselor who seeks social welfare and has a lot of prestige. Also a mature mother in her house is called that. The palace of Bundo Kanduang has been rebuilt a few years ago and reproduces the old building that burned. Repeat a rumah gadang (traditional house where three generations live together) in much larger proportions. It has a beautiful handcrafted wood painted colors and a room for each daughter. One of the characteristics of the minangkabau architecture is the rumah gadang with its high and curved roofs that represent the buffalo horns, symbol of the minangkabau community. It is built on a wooden base. Next to the rumah gadang there are usually three rankiang (warehouses) for storing rice crops.

In this area there are many artisans who carry out the wooden crafts of the houses: flowers and colorful drawings. Animals and plants that symbolize love, union, abundance are labeled and carved ... We will visit a workshop. We will also visit the women who make woven handicrafts made of gold thread in the locality of Pandai Sikat. We will have lunch in the area or with a family. And at the end we return to our house in Pakan Kamis. We can dine in the village or prepare an informal meal with products sold in small establishments near our house. MP

Day 12 - Patangahan: visit to a school
Today we will visit a school. The minangkabau community is Muslim and in the population the ancestral customs of Adat (matriarchal) are syncretized, with the patriarchal of Islam (S.XIII). Children are taught Adat customs and cannot be angry for more than three days for the good of the group. They are instructed with patience, making them see, with love, the mistakes made. Never aggressively. The minangkabau culture was forged in ancient animist kingdoms that related the essence of life with the fertility of the fields and the fertility of women. This is how Adat was born, the set of ancestral beliefs that structure the loving values ??of this community. Hinduism and Buddhism had settled on the island with the landing of Indian and Chinese merchants who introduced the silk and species trade in the sixth century. Islam reaches Sumatra in the thirteenth century, and settles down to become the dominant religion of the island, at the end of the sixteenth century.

For centuries Adat and Islam coexisted peacefully until in 1835 Muslim political power wanted to end those "pagan traditions" and abolish matrilineal descent, so unrelated to its doctrine. The result was a civil war that ended (with the decisive help of the Dutch colonizers) with the power of the sultans. The matrilineal ancestry, center of the minangkabau society, was established as a common and sacred axis of Islamic society as well. The Koran says: "Heaven is under the mother's foot." Islam was syncretized with pre-Islamic local traditions.

Throughout the day we will make the last purchases in Bukittinggi. There is a lot of local crafts: fabrics, traditional dresses in the market, scarves, t-shirts, semiprecious stones, products made by women ... (in this region there are no tourists)
At sunset we will talk about the minangkabau customs and there will be a farewell dinner in the moonlight with minangkabau music and ancient dance of dishes. Two young students will teach us to dance this dance that thanks the land for the abundance of crops. PC

Day 13 - Return to Pandang and return trip
The next morning we return to Padang to catch the flight to Barcelona. We will take advantage of the time and take a tour of the city and eat at one of the small restaurants on the beach of Padang, under the palm trees. Also for those who want, bath on the beach. AD Return flight.

Day 14 - Arrival in Barcelona 

(OPTIONAL) Travel extension:
Trekking to the Bukit Lawang Orangutan Reserve, in Medan, north of the island of Sumatra.

Day 13 - Padang / Medan internal flight.
Arrival and meeting with the guide. En route to the reservation
from Bukit Lawang, night at the store or hotel. PC

Day 14 - Trekking to observe the orangutans in the virgin, fascinating and beautiful jungle of Sumatra.
One of the few places in the world where we can observe them in the wild is Bukit Lawang, in Medan, north of the island. They are in danger of extinction due to deforestation and illegal hunting. Orangutans are the largest primates living in trees. Originating in Indonesia and Malaysia, they feed on fruits, leaves, flowers, roots, bird eggs, caterpillars, ants ...
Males can reach a meter seventy and weigh 120 kilos, twice as many females. They stop every seven or eight years, they don't usually have more than 3 young that take care of and prepare for life in the jungle. They are solitary animals, very intelligent and very adaptable. Funny in their movements and with great force. They can live between 30 and 45 years.
Picnic and return to Bukit Lawang camp. Dinner, social gathering and night in the store. PC

Day 15 - Tour of Bukit Lawang (town) and Tangkahan where we will visit a reserve of elephants in their natural habitat.
Interaction with them: we can wash them, feed them ... Hotel. PC

Day 16 - Flight Medan-Barcelona / Madrid

Day 17 - Arrival home

Coming soon