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Minagkabau tribes in West Sumatra's highlands celebrate Father's Day differently.

By laura Brereton June 19, 2022

Fathers Day Would Look Different in the Highlands of West Sumatr

Father's Day is a little different for the Minagkabau tribes of West Sumatra's highlands, which have the world's biggest surviving Matriarchal Society.
Families' ancestry and inheritance are tracked through the female line rather than the male line. As a result, property, including homes and rice patties, is solely inherited by daughters. 

Wedding by Artem Beliaikin


The principal member of the villages or desa is the Mother. The traditional home unit is called a rumah gadang or community house. Though men occupy the house, domestic life is led by the women residing there: the head woman along with her sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. Any sons or grandsons born into the house live in the house until they are seven, then move into the mosque. Boys encouraged as teenagers to leave their hometowns for education until they are old enough to marry into another house. (“Minangkabau.” Encyclopædia). 


The history of the Minangkabau dates back to the twelfth century. According to legend when the Kind Maharajo Dirajo had three wives and three children. When he passed away, the first wife, Puti Indo Jalito took his place in raising the children and ruling the kingdom. This started the lineage of the matriarchal society that would develop in the following centuries.Earliest records of this people group date back to the fourteenth century (Sankari). 

Indonesia Country side


With the influence of the Dutch administration in the 19th century and western cultures, many households have begun to take on aspects of a nuclear family unit (parents and children). However, ties to tradition remain strong. Men, though permanent members of they home are still viewed as guests in their wife’s home and the voice of women in still holds its weight in domestic decisions (Elliot). Fathers Day then, though not widely celebrated in Indonesia as a whole, might look a little different in these remote villages of the Minangkabau in the highlands of West Sumatra. 

Works Cited

Elliot. “Minangkabau Culture : Society.” The Spice Route End | Independent Travel & Culture Guides to Indonesia, 8 Nov. 2020, 

Madaus, Sarah. “These Matriarchal Societies Are Entirely Governed by Women.” Town & Country, Town & Country, 11 Feb. 2022,

“Matriarchal Definition & Meaning.”,,

“Minangkabau.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 

“Minangkabau.” New World Encyclopedia, 

Sankari, Rathina. “World's Largest Matrilineal Society.” BBC Travel, BBC, 22 September 2016. 

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