Saturday, November 14, 2009


                    Old Batak house
Indonesian citizen of non Batak tribes and Batak tribes who lived beyond North Sumatera, mostly didn't understand what was the connection, what was the diffrences between Tapanuli in one hand and Batak in another hand. Some said Tapanuli was Batakland or Batak was the same as Tapanuli  or vice versa.

Sometime someone said plainly, proud, without hesitate said :" I am Batak", but some prefer, more comfortable called themself  by saying :"I am from Tapanuli".  A few people proud to called themself : 
"I am from Medan". As we all knew that Medan was the capital of North Sumatera, not just covered Tapanuli districts. Recently there were 33 districts administered under North Sumatera province,

A traditional tortor dance
It was true  that Batak's tribes origin were coming from Tapanuli, they lived in tree Tapanuli districts, (North, Central and South). People lived in the South belong to Batak Mandailing Sub tribes and the others two  who lived in the middle and North were Batak Toba Sub tribes.

But don't forget that people who lived beyond tree Tapanuli districts above were called Bataks as well. Such as Batak Karo and Batak Simalungun who lived in Karo district and Simalungun, bordered, neighbourhood to Tapanuli districts. By this explanation, all Batak tribes can be categorized in 4  Sub tribes (Toba, Mandailing, Karo and Simalungun).

In the past two decades ago, after Soeharto stepped down, Tapanuli was divided into tree disticts (Kabupaten) and one city : North Tapanuli, capital in Tarutung, Central Tapanuli, capital in Sibolga and South Tapanuli, capital in Padangsidempuan and Sibolga city.
People  who lived in North and Central Tapanuli mostly Batak Toba  sub tribes and South district lived by Batak Mandailing sub tribes.
Besides, two other districts bordered to Tapanuli where the parts of Batak tribes as well, lived in their own district as Karo and Simalungun district.

                                Batak model house in Taman Mini, Jakarta

Recently, the new Goverment rezims, setted up additional some new districts by splitting the old one from Sub district became a  new district level, independently. By the additional of the new disticts, origin of Batak become blurr, unclear, especially for people lived beyond North Sumatera. Recently, North Tapanuli  district itself grow become 4 districts (North Tapanuli, Tobasa, Samosir and Humbang Hasundutan). The same happened in the South district, grow become 4 districts (South Tapanuli, Padang Lawas, North Padang Lawas and Mandailing Natal).

Hopefully by these additional districts, new authorities, new bodies, new agencies would keep maintain, take care and develop the Batak cultures, traditions as one of the old tradions that you never found in another countries, such as Family tree (Tarombo). We proud of Bataks tribes kept their  solid Family trees for 500 - 700 years. See Family tree topic, here in this Blog.

As a logic consequences of the splitting, the Batak tribes now distributed  in 10 smaller disrticts, previously only in 5 districts. The interesting thing were that religion belong to people lived in the Southern districts  mayority was Moslem, and the rests were Christian.

For Sibolga city was a very unique enviroment, may be was close to fifty fifty among Moslem and Christian and they lived in harmony for long period of time. The people consist of multi races, tribes, Batak moslems, Batak Christians, Chinese, Minangkabau, Java and others who birth and raised in Sibolga city, city of sunset.

Below: Batak family thomb

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