A Glimpse of Batak Culture


Batak culture has been widely known as a rich culture in Indonesia. It has unique traditions that are still implemented up until now. The names of Batak people are also significantly different compared to other tribes’ names in the country, making it stands out and easily recognized.

There is no such ending to talk about this culture due to its abundant cultural issues. This page is going to select merely some of the cultures for you to see. Check it out.

How to Find the Batak People?

The word ‘Batak’ itself is actually an umbrella term for larger groups of the population. Batak comprises six ethnic groups to be exact. Those are the Mandailing, Angkola, Toba, Papak/ Dairi, Karo, and the Simalungun. Each of those ethnics speaks a different yet similar language.

The six ethnic groups originally stay in the North of Sumatra island. If you are in Jakarta and wish to visit the home of the Batak people, you can take a flight to cut off nearly 2 thousand kilometers distance. Or else, you can take the land route. However, it will take days to finally reach the destination.

Although Batak people originally come from the North of Sumatra, nowadays you can meet them everywhere. They are spread in so many regions in Indonesia. You will directly realize they are Batak once you know their names.

Marga in Batak

Talking about names, Batak culture cannot be separated from marga. It refers to a clan, family name or surname in Batak societies. Marga will be put in the last name of the Batak people. Several well-known marga are for instance Pakpahan, Sembiring, Nasution, Lubis, Sibarani, and many others. Since Batak societies embrace a patriarchal hierarchy, thus, the name of children will follow their father’s last name.

Marriage in Batak

Marga takes an essential role in a Batak marriage. People who come from the same marga are not allowed to get married. They believe that people with the same marga are brothers or sisters. Thus, a marriage between them is prohibited.

If a Batak wishes to marry someone who does not belong to the Batak people, there is a rule to follow. He/ she, in advance, should be adopted by another marga before the marriage to be a Batak people. That way, the marriage can be held.

Additionally, marriage in Batak is seen as an alliance. Therefore, divorce is hardly against by society. It is believed as breaking the alliance between two margas.

This is just a glimpse of the culture that is owned by the country. It quite explains why Indonesia culture shock is common even to the Indonesian people themselves. The country is so cultured-rich! Batak culture seems to be a great proof of it.


  1. […] If you visited Lake Toba now you can visit Samosir Island. The island located in the middle of Lake Toba has become one of the must-visit if you are in North Sumatra. Here is a place to shop knick knacks, or even a souvenir if you visit here. There are a lot of sellers of typical Batak knick-knacks or clothes and typical North Sumatra delicacies. On this island you will be able to see typical Batak houses in ancient times, traditions of the Batak people that are still preserved. You can also capture photos with sculptures typical of the Batak people. […]


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