Introduction / History
The Lampung Abung are a large group with a social structure that is strong and somewhat separate from other Lampung peoples. The Lampung Abung are made up of three groups: Abung, Seputih and Menggala or Tulang Bawang. Menggala has its own cultural structure called the Megow Pak Tulang Bawang (the Four Clans of Tulang Bawang). The Abung and the Seputih make up a larger group called the Abung Siwow Megow (Nine Clans of Abung). The Lampung Abung live in the regencies of North Lampung, East Lampung, Central Lampung and Tulang Bawang. The Abung are the only group among the Lampung peoples who speak the language Lampung Nyo. There are several registers (levels) of language used for special situations, such as cultural ceremonies. Most of the Abung can also speak Indonesian. Some of them can also use the languages of non-Sumatran peoples who have moved into the area, like Javanese and Sundanese.
What are their lives like?
The Abung follow a cultural tradition called Pepadun, which means "seat" or "throne" as used by a ruler. The leadership system of the Abung is similar to a congregational system in that there are many leaders who each have voice in cultural meetings that function much like a congress. Family ties among the Abung are very strong, as is the concept of leading by consensus among the Abung clans. Most Abung are farmers. There are almost no trade fishermen among the Abung because they tend to live in areas that are far from the ocean. Abung homes have already tended to shift from the traditional, long wooden homes built on thick poles to the concrete homes built at ground level, typically found throughout Indonesia. Usually in one village there are ten clans (marga), each led by a clan leader (penyimbang). This position is passed down from generation to generation to the oldest son and follows a patrilineal system. When they marry, the Abung live near the husband's family. Polygamy is permitted but is only practiced by the wealthy. Marriage between close relatives and cousins is forbidden, as is divorce.
What are their beliefs?
Almost one hundred percent of the Abung are Muslims. In principle, the Abung are not allowed to hold to any religion other than Islam. Every village has at least one mosque; if there are several neighborhoods in one village, every neighborhood will have its own mosque. The Abung hold the place of worship in high regard because they are generally very devout in observing the five ritual prayer times each day, fasting and reading the Quran. Though they are Muslims, they believe in the occult and a talisman that is used for specific purposes such as traveling and working.
What are their needs?
The most pressing need right now is improving agricultural management, especially improving the quality of pepper for export. This would help the Abung improve their standard of living. The area also needs attention from investors who can expand the industry sector because this area has had little industrial development. Besides those needs, training in the development of local businesses could help raise the economic state of the community. Unlike the older generation, those who are now young adults have little interest in working at any type of job.
Text source: Copyright © Indonesian Peoples Network, 2011. Used with permission.