Introduction / History
The Ogan live along the Ogan River in an area that stretches from Sugih Waras Village, located in the Pengandonan District of Ogan Komering Ulu Regency, to the subdistrict of Kertapati in the city of Palembang. The Ogan people are spread across the districts of Pengandonan, Semidang Aji, Baturaja Barat, Baturaja Timur, Sosoh Buay Rayap, Lubuk Batang and Peninjauan in Ogam Komering Ulu Regency, as well the Kertapati Subdistrict of Palembang. A few small groups of Ogan people also live outside these areas. In Lampung Province, the Ogan live in the Blambangan Umpu and Bara Datu districts of Way Kanan Regency and in the Bukit Kumuning, Abung Barat and Kota Bumi districts of North Lampung Regency. The Ogan live alongside Meranjat, Komering, Rambang and Daya people in these areas.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Ogan villages usually consist of 300-400 families. Single-family homes are built on wooden stilts and have three to four rooms. The area beneath the house is used for storage and also as a space for work. In an occupied area, the Ogan usually form just one or two villages, each made up of a large number of these raised houses. They generally live in a location separate from their fields. In Lampung Province, Ogan settlements are easily identifiable because their houses are quite different in style from the houses of the Lampung people groups. The Lampung Abung also build houses on stilts, but their houses have wide, raised terraces that run in front and around the sides of the houses. Traditional Ogan houses usually have small terraces only on the sides, not in the front. The Ogan practice two customary forms of marriage. In the first, the groom must give a bridewealth to the bride's family. The new couple will then live in the husband's family's home and their children will be considered descendants of the husband's family. In the second form, no bridewealth is paid. The new couple lives in the wife's family's home and their children become part of the wife's family. Married couples are responsible for caring for their family members and managing the family's land and assets, including contributions toward expenses for traditional ceremonies. Farming is the principal economic activity in the Ogan area. There are three main crops: rice, rubber and coffee. Crops are typically planted with 5 to 10 hired workers, or family members working in shifts. Harvests involve groups of men and women including the farmer's family.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Each Ogan village has its own distinct story about their origin and how they became Muslims. The Ogan have practiced a form of Islam known as Sunni Shafi'i since the 16th century. Toward the end of the 16th century they were also introduced to Sufism. The Ogan observe all Islamic holidays, such as Idul Fitri (end of the Ramadan month of fasting) and Idul Adha (commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son). They tend to believe in superstitions related to spirits that inhabit certain places and objects. The social and spiritual life of the Ogan revolves around activities such as religious feasts, birth rituals, ceremonies to ensure protection against natural disasters and celebrations to give thanks for the harvest. At these events, Ogan people gather to recite Islamic prayers and also perform ritual prayers to the spirits of their ancestors.
What Are Their Needs?
The Ogan plant only one crop of rice per year even though most of them live along the Ogan River, a large waterway into which many smaller rivers in South Sumatra flow. The adoption of irrigation practices using river water would allow the Ogan to grow two to three crops of rice per year.
Scripture Prayers for the Ogan in Indonesia.
Used with permission