[2014] Sofia Ahmad (Year 9 Indo 2014): The Makassaree People

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[2014] Sofia Ahmad (Year 9 Indo 2014): The Makassaree People


Most Makassarese live inside and around the city of Makassar (previously named Ujung Pandang), which is the heart of South Sulawesi, as well as the Konjo highlands, the coastal areas, and the Selayar and Spermonde islands. Makassar territory is roughly between 5° and 7° S, and 119°20′ and 120°30′ E.

97% of all Makassarese people are Muslim. Nevertheless traditional beliefs are still influential, especially in the remote areas. They maintain beliefs in gods and ancestral spirits; giving ritual offerings in the required manner. They believe the ancestral spirits have a direct influence on their daily lives. Special ceremonies are held at the beginning of the planting and harvest seasons.

In this video, you can see some Makassarese people reciting Muslim prayers.Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKsVZSM5g2w

The Makassarese


Siri (respect and honor) is the social code by which the Makassar live. Anyone seriously offending another person's siri runs the risk of being killed and the authorities will often refuse to become involved.

Division of Sexes

In the rural locations, marriage is still arranged exclusively by the parents and/or close relatives. Normatively, the groom's social rank must be higher than or at least equal to the bride's. Marriage between second cousins is preferred among the commoners, while only nobles are allowed to marry a first cousin. Polygyny is confined to wealthy people, because a separate household must be provided for each wife. Traditionally, divorce could be initiated only by the husband, and was fairly rare. By way of contrast, divorce is now more common, and follows Islamic law.


Houses and Villages

A Makassarese couple getting married.Source: http://pajoka.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/220699337_6685b97ad8.jpg

The house is raised on wooden (formerly bamboo) stilts, about two metres above the ground. It is rectangular in shape and provided with a gable roof. Partitions of the gable formerly indicated the social status to which the owner belonged. While formerly up to twenty people resided in a single house, nowadays most houses are inhabited by an average of five persons.Traditionally, villages were located amid the rice fields and gardens, with an average distance of some 3 kilometres from one settlement to another. Nowadays, Makassar houses in the plains and beach areas are close to each other and those in the mountains are spread out. Each village usually has a centre (pecci tana) which formerly was considered a sacred place, marked by a sacred (banyan) tree. The Makassar often work alongside their neighbours in matters of mutual concern, such building houses and working in the rice fields. They also gather for times of celebrations, such as birthdays and weddings.

A traditional Makassarese house. Source: http://indoarchitect.blogspot.com.au/2011_01_01_archive.html


1. Joshua Project, accessed 23/09/14http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/13235/ID2. Encylopedia, accessed 23/09/14http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-1839300268/bugis-makassarese-and-mandarese.html3. Encylopedia, accessed 25/09/14http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Makassar.aspx4. Bali Touring, accessed 26/09/14http://www.balitouring.com/culture/bugis.htm5. South Sulawesi 25 Tribes, accessed 27/09/14http://2eyeswatching.com/2011/11/10/south-sulawesi-25-tribes/

A map of South Sulawesi. Source: http://www.indonesiamatters.com/818/sulawesi-provinces-map/

Division of the sexes among the Makassar is strict. Girls over the age of 7 traditionally were forbidden to communicate with male individuals—except for their closest relatives—until they got married. While mobility and bravery are considered important features of male behaviour, girls are supposed to occupy balancing positions within the social group. The family structure is headed by the man. The wife and children must show respect for the head of the household while they are in public. Men are responsible for matters outside the house such as farming, working the plows and carrying rice bundles after the harvest. The household duties are assigned to women.


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