September 28, 2008 at 8:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Batak History

The batak people have a history of animism and ancestor worship as well as head hunting and human sacrifices.

The Batak people encountered both Muslim and Christian missionaries. The majority were converted to Christianity.

Even today as Christians their ancestors play an important part in life. Graves are built above the ground for all the see and remember

Protestant Christian Batak Church

(Huria Kristen Batak Protestant, HKBP)

The Batak Protestant Christian Church is the fruit of the work of the Rhineland Mission (Germany) which began to work in the Batak land of North Sumatra in 1861. The Batak people had strongly rejected earlier attempts to evangelize them. The history of the mission and the church cannot be separated from the person of I.L. Nommensen, “the apostle to the Batak people”, who arrived in 1864 and stayed until his death in 1918 as ephorus of the church. One of his great insights was the use of indigenous workers. The first school for Batak evangelists was established in 1868. Already in 1881 a church order was introduced, which enabled the church to grow strong in organization and size. The HKBP became autonomous in 1930. From 1940 onwards it was entirely self-governing, self-sup-porting and self-propagating. Today it is the largest Protestant church in Indonesia, with congregations in many parts of the archipelago and also in other countries.

The HKBP understands itself as a church of Christ, established by the work of the Holy Spirit, an organism that “lives from age to age and from generation to generation across the borders of continents, nations, races and languages”. It is part of the universal church, holding to one baptism. It has its own confession, adopted in 1951, which is based on the holy scriptures, on the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds, the Reformation and more recent confessions like the Barmen Theological Declaration of 1934. According to the latest revision of its constitution, the HKBP has a vision of developing itself to be an inclusive, dialogical and transparent church that, together with other Christians and people of other faiths, strives for the improvement of the quality of life of the people in the light of the love of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God. The mission of the church is carried out through its three departments: Diakonia, Marturia and Koinonia. The main concerns are bringing the gospel to non-Christian people (e.g. among Javanese and Tamil in Medan, tribes in Riau, in areas of transmigration), providing social services (e.g. care for orphans, for the blind, for drop-outs), gender justice, schools (nursery, elementary, high schools and technical, 145 in all), hospitals and health centres, HIV/AIDS, environment, violence and poverty.

An important institution of the HKBP is the Nommensen University which was opened in 1954, in response to the felt need for higher education in the new nation of Indonesia. It has, among many other colleges, a faculty of theology. The church also runs a theological seminary, a teacher-preacher school, a Bible women’s school and a deaconess training school.

It is the conviction of the HKBP that it is God’s plan to save the Batak people in order to be a blessing for Indonesia in particular, and for the world in general.

Last updated: 1.1.2006

There is nobody that never heard about Toba Lake in Indonesia. This tourist destination is famous across the country, everybody have heard about it. Toba lake is located in North Sumatera province. From the administrative perspective, it is belong to North Tapanuli region or known as Tobasa [Toba Samosir]. It’s a bit far from Medan, and requires long drive to reach the Toba Lake. The trip is similar as the Trip from Jakarta-Bandung, about 3 hours drive. On the way there, we will pas Pematang Siantar, the second biggest city after Medan.


  [] Danau – Toba

If we depart in the morning, we will arrive in Prapat at noon. Prapat is a town along the road side and plays an important role that connects Medan and Toba Lake. Initially, I didn’t realize that trip would be that long. I thought it was like trip from Jakarta-Sukabumi or Surabaya-Malang.

Arriving in Parapat with empty stomach that started to sing made me had to rushed out to strecth-out after driving too long during the trip. Prapat, is a beautiful town located at the skirt of Toba Lake by the mountainside. From the top we can see beautiful view of Toba Lake lies between the hillsides. It is a huge lake with an island in the middle, called Samosir. This place is quite high above the sea level. My hungry stomach, feeling tired and weary after long trip was vanished by looking at the lovely scenery and chilling atmosphere.

For Batak people, this place is the origin of the ‘genuine’ Batak. Here, we will see many Batak clans live in Prapat which believes as the genuine Batak

Batakpeople devides into 5 ethnics, which geographically divided as follows:

1. Batak Toba (Tapanuli): lives in Toba Samosir province, North Tapanuli, Central Tapanuli and speaks in Batak Toba dialect.
2. Batak Simalungun : lives in Simalungun province, part of Deli Serdang, and speaks in Batak Simalungun dialect.
3. Batak Karo : lives in Karo province, Langkat, part of Aceh, and speaks in Batak Karo dialect. They call themselves as Malay people.
4. Batak Mandailing : lives in South Tapanuli province, Pakantan region, Muara Sipongi and speaks in Batak Mandailing dialect, geographically they are closer to Padang.
5. Batak Pakpak : lives in Dairi province, South Aceh, and speaks in Pakpak dialect.

Nias ethnic group lives in Nias province (Nias Island) claimed that they are not Batak-nesse since their ancestors are not Batak mainland. However, they family name similar to Batak people. Area called Batak land or Tano Batak is the area surround Toba Lake, North Sumatera. If only they didn’t follow allotment by The Dutch [devide et impera political tricks] like now, people say Batak main land is up to South Aceh and South-East Aceh.

Several dialects in Alas and Gayo area are similar to Batak language. Likewise, named like Alas and Gayo, exist in legend and Batak folktale. In Batak folktale called Bona Laklak [folktale of Beringin Tree] which is beautifully painted by L. Sitio [1921] the name of Si Jau Nias, and Si Ujung Aceh, emerge equally as Sorimangaraja (King of Batak I). Followed by Si Gayo and si Alas which is equal to Si Raja Siak Dibanua (King Siak Dibanua) the ancestor of Sorimangaraja, the grandfather of si Raja Batak (King of Batak).

A small group of Pakpak people reluctant to be called as Batak since the term of ‘MPU Bada’ is not related to the term of ‘OMPU Bada’ in Batak language. According to Pakpak ethnic, the term of MPU is equal to MPU in from Java [MPU Sendok, MPU Gandring]. However, in general, Pakpak language is similar to Batak language, just like their ideology and way of life.

This ethnic is also does not wish to be identified as part of Batak Ethnic. According to Prof. Dr. Henry G. Tarigan [IKIP Negeri Bandung] they are 84 citation genus name of Karo people. That’s why, Karo people is not entirely come from Batak ethnic, since many newcomers joining in the later year, i.e. genus Colia, Pelawi, Brahmana, etc. Throughout the years in, Karo land widely known having Merga Silima [5 genuses].

The Nias ethnic group that lives in Nias province [Nias island] claimed that they are not Batak, because their ancestors were not coming from in Batak mainland, not from Pusuk Buhit. It’s understandable, since geographically, Nias island situated a bit remotely in Indonesian Ocean, at the West side of North Sumatera. However, they are having family name just like any other Batak people.

A friend has told me a unique story. When the Japanesse came during the war, there was one Japanesse officer liked to feed fish that lived in Toba lake. Every mornsing and evening, he paddled his sampan, and chimed the bell repeatedly and scattered food. Hundred of fishes came and eat it. He was doing it for years until he passed away. The fishes kept showing up at the same time every single day and people in that village became aware of that. They followed the Japanesse by doing the same thing and brought fisher net with them every morning and evening. They also chimed the bell and many fishes were caught at that time until finally no more fish left.

Nobody can confirm the above story. Today, Toba lake is no longer producer of ground-water fishes in North Sumatera. The government is trying to stimulate local people by providing fish seed so they can be a fisherman for living.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: