Local belief is a religion of the tribal or cultural groups that taught its lesson through rituals, story, songs, and etc. In Indonesia, although they were not officially registered in the Indonesian Government, there are some people who still believe in the local beliefs. Perhaps many of you often hear about the local faith in your surroundings, such as Kejawen. There are many kinds of local religion in Indonesia: Sunda Wiwitan, Balinese religion, Buhun, Kaharingan, Parmalim, and etc. Commonly, these religions come from a specific local area in Indonesia.
In 2017, Indonesia ministry of education and culture recorded 187 local beliefs exist in Indonesia. It also stated that around 12 million people is a follower of indigenous religions. The reason why Indonesia have many types of alternative beliefs is because of the background history of this country.
A long time ago, Indonesia, as a large country has controlled by Hinduism and Buddhism Kingdom. After that period, the Islamic kingdom enters this country and spread its lesson in entire Indonesia. It may influence the characteristics and beliefs of its people. Additionally, the geographical shape also may become the reason for the local belief existence. Therefore, it has a high probability of existing and got many followers of its teaching.
History of Indonesia Country: Hinduism-Buddhism period
Many people in Indonesia love a tradition and culture. People also often put high respect and feeling of it. It becomes a pride of Indonesia people. These cultures and traditions originally come from the Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islamic kingdom period history. Many people believe the ancestors leave some historical heritage that has a powerful spirit in it.
The traditional people very admired the powerful energy and the history of the old ancestors. Hence, they decided to respect and preserve their ancestral culture. However, people have different perceptions and interpretations of these beliefs. Perhaps people may think only to give respect, but others may think to give more praise. Therefore, the local culture exists in this multicultural country.
Every people can think and choose. They may have different opinions and actions. Then, Indonesian also can interpret the historical heritage based on what they want. Commonly, there are some factors that may affect the basic knowledge and belief in the people characteristics. The factors are family teaching, environment behavior, issues, personal experience, and intuition. Therefore, people can create a local belief because of those factors.
The last reason is probably a geographical issue. Indonesia has a vast number of cities, around 514 area. Since Indonesian live in the different 514 cities, it makes people free to think about a belief. In Indonesia, every town has a different history and legend story. Many of local beliefs in Indonesia also come from a separate area. For instance, Kejawen from Java, Agama Bali from Bali, Sunda Wiwitan from west java, and many more. Therefore, different geographical may become one of the indicators of local beliefs existence.
From all the exposed reason above, you probably know what the indicators of the local belief existence. Briefly, many local beliefs exist because of differences story, people interpretation, places, and beliefs.
Other than that, there is an additional story from people that have ever lived apart with Islamic Kejawen person. There are many types of Kejawen: Islamic Kejawen, Hindu Kejawen, Christian Kejawen, and many more. Commonly, Kejawen is an acculturation of Javanese culture and other religions in Indonesia. It is an identity of Javanese culture. Perhaps Javanese people have familiar with Weton.
Weton is a Javanese calendar that can be useful to forecast the excellent time to conduct an event, compatibility of a soulmate, and many other functions. For Islamic Kejawen, many people know Kejawen by fasting and meditating. Based on the experience from the person who lives with Kejawen people, she said that Kejawen people believe in their inner strength from Keris (traditional weapon). She has ever seen the people washed its Keris and do fasting to gain a spiritual power from it.
From this story, it is concluded that local belief exists because of the views of spiritual power and the culture from a specific area in Indonesia. The culture probably comes from the traditional people to recognize the history of their ancestors.
Writer: Nyayu Rohaya Tridanisa
Student of Sampoerna University