Living in Harmony with Nature: Exploring the Unique Culture of the Baduy People

Warga Suku Baduy.
Warga Suku Baduy. /ANTARA

PIKIRAN RAKYAT - Nestled amidst the lush rainforests of Banten province in western Java, Indonesia, resides the Baduy people, an indigenous community known for its unwavering commitment to tradition and its harmonious relationship with nature.

Comprising two subgroups, the Inner Baduy (Baduy Dalam) and Outer Baduy (Baduy Luar), Baduy people have captivated the world's attention with their unique way of life, which prioritizes simplicity, self-sufficiency, and a deep respect for their natural surroundings. This article delves into the fascinating culture of the Baduy people, exploring their traditions, beliefs, and the challenges they face in the modern world.

The Baduy people's way of life is deeply rooted in the concept of "pikukuh," a set of ancestral customs and regulations that govern all aspects of their lives. These customs emphasize living in harmony with nature, avoiding modern technology and conveniences, and adhering to a sustainable lifestyle. The Inner Baduy, considered the more traditional group, adhere more strictly to pikukuh, residing in isolated settlements and refraining from electricity, motorized vehicles, and formal education. The Outer Baduy, while still adhering to core traditions, are more open to outside influences and may integrate some modern practices into their daily lives.

The Baduy people's connection to nature is evident in their dwellings, attire, and agricultural practices. They live in simple, traditional houses constructed from natural materials like bamboo and wood. Their clothing is typically handwoven from natural fibers and dyed with plant-based pigments. Subsistence farming forms the basis of their economy, with the Baduy people practicing sustainable techniques to ensure the continued health of the land. They avoid deforestation and utilize a system of crop rotation to maintain soil fertility.

A Culture in Transition: Challenges and the Future of the Baduy People

The Baduy people's commitment to tradition has allowed them to preserve their unique way of life for centuries. However, the modern world presents a growing set of challenges. The increasing accessibility of their remote settlements through improved infrastructure exposes them to outside influences that could potentially erode their cultural identity. Additionally, pressures from the surrounding population and the ever-encroaching effects of climate change pose threats to their traditional way of life and their natural environment.

Despite the challenges, the Baduy people continue to strive for the preservation of their culture and traditions. They have established regulations on interaction with outsiders and maintain a strong sense of community spirit. Conservation efforts are also underway to protect their ancestral lands and ensure the sustainability of their way of life.

The Baduy people offer a unique perspective on the human connection to nature and the importance of cultural preservation. Their way of life serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between tradition and progress, and the ongoing need to protect both cultural heritage and the natural environment. (Politeknik Negeri Bandung/Sintia Yuliana)***

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  • A Culture in Transition: Challenges and the Future of the Baduy People

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