Minangkabau, Padang in Indonesia

Joshua Project has identified the Minangkabau, Padang only in Indonesia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Minangkabau (also called the Minang) come from West Sumatra Province and are the majority ethnic group in all areas of the province other than in the islands inhabited by the Mentawai people. They speak the Minang language, which has many dialects. They are famous for their tradition of leaving their home village and working in other areas to find their fortune. Many of them have moved to other regions of Indonesia. They are the fourth largest ethnic group in Indonesia and have a great deal of influence. The very name Minangkabau witnesses to a high degree of wit. Literally the name is said to mean "winning" (menang) "water buffalo" (kabau or kerbau). It supposedly reflects an ancient contest that was used to determine the outcome of a war. The Javanese "champion" was a huge buffalo, while the Minangkabau chose an unweaned calf. After starving the calf before the fight, they tied a knife to its snout. When the animals met, the hunger-crazed Minangkabau calf tried to nurse, causing the Javanese beast to bleed to death. Today, the water buffalo figures prominently in Minangkabau myth, culture and architecture. Traditional Minangkabau homes have roof eaves that soar outwards like the horns of the buffalo.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In the past, Minangkabau villages were small and led by a chief and his advisors. Every village had autonomy. Kings and nobles were not allowed to interfere. Other than owning restaurants, Minangkabau also are famous as traders. They deal primarily in clothing and jewlery The Minangkabau are very proud of their traditions. In their matrilineal culture, the family name and the family wealth is inherited by the daughter. In the house, much of the responsibilities are held by the wife's brother, called ninik mamak. This uncle is required to take care of his nephews and nieces and watch over everything connected to the family heirlooms and inheiritance. The role of the uncle is decreasing these days as more Minangkabau change to the more common way of life of the husband leading the house. This change is primarily seen in Minangkabau who have moved out of the Minangkabau areas to find their fortune. The Minangkabau are famous nationwide for their cuisine. They have restaurants literally all over country. They are also famous as traders. They deal primarily in clothing and jewlery.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Minangkabau are orthodox Muslims. There is a Minangkabau saying, "To be Minangkabau is to be Muslim". The Minangkabau who leave Islam are disowned by their family and neighborhood and lose their job. In the 1800s, the Dutch took advantage of a conflict between the guardians of Minangkabau traditions and the Muslim religious leaders to increase their power in the area. Once the religious leaders united with the traditional elders to oppose the Dutch, Islam was added to the Minangkabau traditions.

What Are Their Needs?

In education and business, the Minangkabau are relatively better off than other ethnic groups in Indonesia. Nevertheless, education and industry in West Sumatra still need improvement. Home industries are mainly weaving, sewing and knitting. These crafts have the potential to be increased. Tourism is the only other industry that could be developed in the Mentawai islands and the areas of Lake Maninjau, Lake Singkrak and Bukittinggi.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-07-06
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-06-16
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-06-10
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-05-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-06-26
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Finding True Peace
People Name General Minangkabau, Padang
People Name in Country Minangkabau, Padang
Population in Indonesia 6,462,000
World Population 6,462,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Minang, Padang
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Widespread in the Indonesian Archipelago; west central Sumatra, Padang area. Nearly half live outside central Sumatra; South Sumatra, west coast Mukomuko area.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Malay, Makassar Minangkabau
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Malay, Makassar Minangkabau
For Primary Language: Minangkabau

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1980-1990)
New Testament Yes   (1996)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: Today's Malay Version Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Today's Malay Version with Deuterocanonicals Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Minangkabau Film / Video
Minang Language Film Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.02 %)
0.05 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.95 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
90.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Create International   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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