The Minangkabau perform a dance illustrating how a beruk monkey climbs a coconut tree and picks choice coconuts for its owner. Another dance is based upon a Hindu ceremony; before Islam came in, Sumatra was influenced by Hindu culture. Whilst in a religious trance, men in the Dabuih ceremony stick steel hooks into their flesh.
In the graceful Taripiring, or "dish dance ", entranced dancers hold plates alight with candles, deftly twisting and turning without extinguishing the flame.
The Tari Payung or "umbrella dance" portrays a young man's loving protection of his girl friend and provides a combination of literature, sport, song and drama.
Randai is one of the traditional Minangkabau arts. Randai is really interesting because in this art there is dancing, singing and traditional music collaborated into one performance. It is most often held outdoors in the evening. Between nine and twenty young men, dancing in a circle, are accompanied by sharp cries from the audience. The dresses are colourful and the exchanges captivating. The dance consists of slow steps followed by rapid ones; it depicts the story of a wicked woman, driven from her village. One way to develop Randai is to hold a festival in Payakumbuh every year. Actually this festival is not only to introduce Randai to foreign people but also for local youth.
The Minang style of gamelan folk orchestra consists of the rebab (stringed instrument made from a calabash with a long stick and four strings), the talempong (xylophone), the puput (straw flute), the gandang (tambourine), drums and many different kinds of salung (bamboo flutes), some of which are said to put love spells on women
The staple ingredients of the Minangkabau diet are rice, fish, coconut, green leafy vegetables and chili. The usage of meat is mainly limited to special occasions, and beef and chicken are most commonly used. Pork is not halal and therefore not consumed, while lamb, goat and game are rarely consumed for reasons of taste and availability. Spiciness is a characteristic of Minangkabau food, and the most commonly used herbs and spices are chili, turmeric, ginger and galangal. Vegetables are consumed two or three times a day. Fruits are mainly seasonal, although fruits such as banana, papaya and citrus are continually available.
Three meals a day are typical with lunch being the most important meal, except during the fasting month of Ramadan where lunch is not eaten. Meals commonly consist of steamed rice, a hot fried dish and a coconut milk dish, with a little variation from breakfast to dinner. Meals are generally eaten from a plate using the fingers of the right hand. Snacks are more frequently eaten by people in urban areas than in villages. Western food has had little impact upon Minangkabau consumption and preference to date.
Rendang is a dish which is considered to be a characteristic of Minangkabau culture, and is cooked 4-5 times a year. Other characteristic dishes include Asam Padeh Soto Padang, Sate Padang, Dendeng Balado (beef with chili sauce).
Food has a central role in the Minangkabau ceremonies which honor religious and life cycle rites.
Minangkabau food is popular among Indonesians and restaurants are present throughout Indonesia. Nasi Padang restaurants, named after the capital of West Sumatra, are known for placing a variety of Minangkabau dishes on a customer's table along with rice and billing only for what is taken. Nasi Kapau is another restaurant variant which specializes in dishes using offal and the use of tamarind to add a sourness to the spicy flavor
Particular Minangkabau villages specialize in cottage industries producing handicrafts such as woven sugarcane and reed purses, gold and silver jewellery using filigree and granulation techniques, woven songket textiles, wood carving, embroidery, pottery, and metallurgy.
The rich gold and silver brocade of Minangkabau cloth plays an important role in the ceremonies of birth, circumcision, marriage and death. This iridescent and intricately designed textile forms the material expression of the Adat Minang. A traditional saying is "The fabric is the skin of the Adat ". Women weave this expensive cloth on a background of silk or cotton, applying an embossed pattern of silver or gold thread, a technique called Songket. The finest threads are traditionally made from paper with a thin layer of gold or silver. Since 1900 the ceremonial cloths have been woven in only four villages: Kota Badang, Padangpanjang, Payakumbuh and Silungkang and the famous Kain Balapak, the most exclusive ceremonial brocade, only in Pandai Sikek. Pandai Sikek lies12 km. south of Bukittinggi, and is also famous for its wood carving.
Kota Gadang is a picturesque silver work village near Bukittinggi on the other side of the Sianok valley. In the village are a variety of beautiful colonial houses and the place breathes an atmosphere of days gone by. Kota Gadang is well known because of its fine silver work home industries.
ArchitectureTraditional house of Minangkabau is called 'Rumah Gadang' that means big house or Rumah Adat that means customary house. It is called Rumah Gadang is not because of its big size, but it refers to the big function of the house it self.
Rumah Gadang in Minangkabau belongs to all members of relatives along the mother's line called "kaum". This is the place for all Adat (custom & tradition) ceremonies, like a wedding party or an inauguration of a head of clan.
The original Adat house is made of wood and bamboo for the back wall. The roof is made of palm vibre. The house is about 12 to 20 meters long and 6 to 8 meters wide. The position of the floor is two or two and half meter above the ground.
The location of an Adat house stretch from west to east, while the numbers of the rooms are 3,5,7,9 & even though 17.
The construction is expended up with a horn shape roof. The roof looks like the horn of buffalo with 4 to 6 points stretch along the house and a point in addition forward for the front door and ladder.
MuseaCentre for information and documentation on Minang Kabau culture.
This centre for Minangkabau culture and studies provides opportunities for those who are minded to study regional traditions. Here are collected data from literature and archaeological sites providing the raw material for new Minangkabau studies. It provides a record of significant events, traditional practices and the way of life, now and formerly, within the Minangkabau culture. The museum has a small but very interesting collection of historical photographs of West Sumatra and a large library. All the documents and artefacts are housed in a traditional Minangkabau house called "Rumah Gadang" (literally: Big House'). Located on a two hectare site and surrounded by environmental parks which apply traditional conservation methods to avoiding erosion by a combination of terracing and contour strip cropping.