The Marapu religion (also known as Marafu in Sumba) is a form of ancestral religion that is practiced mainly in the island of Sumba in Indonesia.[1] Marapu is also practiced in many more remote areas of Sumba and Flores. Both the Christians and Muslims on these islands tend to combine their faiths with Marapu.[2] Since Marapu, like Kaharingan of the Dayaks, is not an official religion of Indonesia, and all Indonesian citizens are required to identify as a member of one of the religions sanctioned by law, members have chosen either Christianity or Islam to self identify.[3]


A member of the Marapu religion, joining forces with representatives of three other indigenous religions, brought a court case to Indonesia's Constitutional court, arguing that the civil rights of Marapu followers suffered because they had not been recognized as one of Indonesia's six official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). On November 7, 2017, Indonesia's Constitutional Court decided in their favor, declaring that the earlier laws were discriminatory and violated the principle of equality under the law. In the past, those who failed to declare that they followed one of the recognized religions on their national identity cards could be denied rights to marriage registration or land titles.[4]


They believe in temporary life in the world and eternal life in the Doomsday, the world of spirits in Marapu heaven — Prai Marapu. The word Marapu means: Firstly, the occupants of the eternal heaven, who lead a similar existence to men. They live in couples and one of these couples is the ancestor of the Sumbanese. Secondly, the spirits of Sumbanese ancestors in Prai Marupu. Thirdly, the spirits of their relatives. Fourthly, all spirits dwelling the universe. Marapu has mysterious and magical authority over human life.

According to Marapu beliefs, any spirit consists of two elements: Ndewa and Hamanangu. Marapu teachings concern the balance of universal life through which happiness can be gained. This balance is symbolized by the Great Mother (Ina Kalada) and the Great Father (Ama Kalada) who live in the universe and take the forms of the moon and the sun. In mythology, they are husband and wife who gave birth to the ancestors of the Sumbanese.

To honor Marapu, the Sumbanese put effigies, called Marapu statues, on stone altars where they lay their offerings in the forms of Sirih Pinang (a dish containing betel leaves, nuts and lime) and sacrificial cattle. The statues of Marapu are made of wood in the shape of human faces. These images are usually placed in the yard of their houses or inside the traditional houses.

A further manifestation of devotion to Merapu and the ancestors is reflected in the continuing construction in parts of East Sumba of impressive stone burial monuments, vestiges of one of the last surviving megalithic cultures on the planet. In many cases individuals will put their families into debts extending into future generations in order to build these tomb stones in the traditional manner.

Funeral ceremonies and burials can be delayed for decades during which the bodies of the deceased are kept in the homes of the living. Once sufficient funds have been acquired, it is not unusual for several generations of Sumbans to be buried or reburied together in segmented compartments of the below-ground tomb in a manner that does not violate incest taboos. While some now use winches and cattle trucks to lift and transport these stones, and others construct them out of cement, the practice of hauling slabs of rock weighing up to 70 tons atop log rollers across the countryside by hand persists in some eastern parts of the island. The actual event is preceded by months of negotiations between allied clans and villages culminating in hundreds of men participating in the tarik batu stone-pulling ceremony. Failure to perform the necessary rites, including the butchering of large numbers of buffalo, cows, pigs and occasionally horses, and nightly protection rituals at the quarries where the stones are cut, risks a violent reaction from malevolent ancestral forces whose approval is sought through the divining of animal innards.

Sumbans believe seven pairs of men and women descended from the sky on a ladder made of buffalo horns to a point in the north central part of the island, and that suitably buried, they too will ultimately ascend this same ladder to be reunited with their families.

While the influence of evangelical churches is growing in Sumba and reflected in mass conversion ceremonies, many islanders retain their beliefs practiced in secret. These conversions can be traumatic for elderly Sumbans who believe by converting they sever the relationship with their forbearers. Others, particularly young people, convert for more pragmatic reasons. Indonesia formally recognizes five state religions and sought-after positions in the civil service, police and military are closed to Merapu practitioners. While not common, there are cases where devout Christianized Sumbans have rebuilt ancestral burial tombs or provided money and support to ensure previous generations are buried in the prescribed manner. Similarly, Christian Sumbans are often buried in cement tombs modeled on the Merapu, though the service is conducted by church officials.

Further reading

  • Webb Keane. Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (The Anthropology of Christianity). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24652-7.


  1. ^ Trisha Sertori, 'Sumba on show in Bali', The Jakarta Post, 30 August 2012.
  2. ^ 'Sumbanese princess marries American in traditional pomp' Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Jakarta Post, 28 November 1999.
  3. ^ United States Department of State
  4. ^ Marguerite Afra Sapiie (2017-11-07). "Constitutional Court rules indigenous faiths 'acknowledged' by state". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2017-11-17.

Ali Illahism (Persian: علی‌اللّهی‎) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.

Aliran kepercayaan

Aliran Kepercayaan is an official cover term for various, partly syncretic forms of mysticism in Indonesia. It includes kebatinan, kejiwan, and kerohanian.

Ancient Tamil music

The ancient Tamil music is the historical predecessor of the Carnatic music during the Sangam period 500 BCE - 200CE.Many poems of the classical Sangam literature were set to music. There are various references to this ancient musical tradition found in the ancient Sangam books such as Ettuthokai and Pattupattu.

The early narrative poem Cilappatikaram, belonging to the post-Sangam period (5th or 6th century) also mentions various forms of music practiced by the Tamil people.

Music was an integral part of the compositions of the Tamil Saiva saints such as Appar, Siva Prakasar, Thirugnana Sambanthar and Manikkavasagar during the Hindu revival period between the 6th and the 10th century.


Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. The term has been used to describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.


Cindu may refer to:

Chemische Industrie Uithoorn, (CINDU), Dutch chemical company

One of the divisions of Tamil music dealt with in the Pancha Marapu

Comparative religion

Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual, and divine.In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Iranian religions), Indian religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and

classical Hellenistic religions.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.


Nesticella is a genus of spiders of the family Nesticidae. Most of its species are found in Asia—from Russia to Japan, down to Indonesia and several other islands, including New Guinea—though some species from Africa and South-America are also known. It includes a blind spider, Nesticella marapu.

Nesticella marapu

Nesticella marapu is an eyeless spider from Sumba, Indonesia. It has long legs and weak pigmentation. It is distinguished by all other species in the genus Nesticella by the beak-shaped paracymbium.

The species is of a bright yellow color, with a body length of less than 3mm, males being a bit smaller.

Of the eyes, not even eye sockets are visible.

It is only known from the 3 km long Marro cave close to Kabalidana, west of Waimangura.

Organized religion

Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.

Pancha Marapu

Pancha Marapu (Tamil: பஞ்சமரபு pañcamarapu) is a 10th-century Tamil treatise on musical theory, written by Aṟivaṉār. The work is one of the isaittamiḻ texts referred to in Atiyarkkunallar's commentary on the Silappadhikaram. Although it was long believed to be lost, a manuscript was discovered in the latter half of the twentieth century, and partially published in 1973. A revised edition has since been published.The text deals with the music, musical instruments and percussion instruments (muḻavu) of that period, and enumerates nine divisions of Tamil music, namely, cindu, cavalai, tiripatai, camapātaviruttam, centuṟai, veṇṭuṟai, peruntēvappāṇi, ciruntēvappāṇi, and vaṇṇam.

Sivaraju Venkata Subbarao

Butchi Babu was the pen name of an eminent Telugu short story writer, novelist and painter. His real name was Sivaraju Venkata Subbarao.

Spider taxonomy

Spider taxonomy is that part of taxonomy that is concerned with the science of naming, defining and classifying all spiders, members of the Araneae order of the arthropod class Arachnida with about 46,000 described species. However, there are likely many species that have escaped the human eye to this day, and many specimens stored in collections waiting to be described and classified. It is estimated that only one third to one half of the total number of existing species have been described.Arachnologists currently divide spiders into two suborders with about 114 families.

Due to constant research, with new species being discovered every month and others being recognized as synonyms, the number of species in the families is bound to change and can never reflect the present status with total accuracy. Nevertheless, the species numbers given here are useful as a guideline – see the table of families at the end of the article.

Spirit spouse

The spirit spouse is one of the most widespread elements of shamanism, distributed through all continents and at all cultural levels. Often, these spirit husbands/wives are seen as the primary helping spirits of the shaman, who assist them in their work, and help them gain power in the world of spirit. The relationships shamans have with their spirit spouses may be expressed in romantic, sexual, or purely symbolic ways, and may include gender transformation as a part of correctly pairing with their "spouse". Shamans report engaging with their spirit spouses through dreams, trance, and other ritual elements. In some cultures, gaining a spirit spouse is a necessary and expected part of initiation into becoming a shaman. Evidence of spirit spouses may be seen in non-shamanic cultures as well, including dreams about Christ by nuns, who are considered to be "brides of Christ".


Sumba (Indonesian: Pulau Sumba) is an island in eastern Indonesia. It is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands and is in the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Sumba has an area of 11,059.6 square kilometres (4,270.1 square miles), and the population was estimated to be 755,849 in 2015. To the northwest of Sumba is Sumbawa, to the northeast, across the Sumba Strait (Selat Sumba), is Flores, to the east, across the Savu Sea, is Timor, and to the south, across part of the Indian Ocean, is Australia.

Sumba people

The Sumba (or Sumbese) people are an ethnic group inhabiting Sumba Island, which is divided by two regencies, namely West Sumba Regency and East Sumba Regency. They refer to themselves as Tau Humba. The Sumbese have been able to retain much of their culture despite foreign influences that arrived long ago on the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Sumbanese traditional house

The Sumbanese traditional house (Sumbanese uma mbatangu, "peaked house") refers to the traditional vernacular house of the Sumba people from the island of Sumba, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia. Sumbanese house is characterized with its high-pitched central peak in its roof and strong connection with the spirits or marapu.

Supplementary weaving

Supplementary weaving is a decorative technique in which additional threads are woven into a textile to create an ornamental pattern in addition to the ground pattern. The supplementary weave can be of the warp or of the weft. Supplementary weave is commonly used in many of thetextiles of Southeast Asia such as in Balinese textiles, the textiles of Sumba and the songket of Sumatra, Malaysia and Brunei.


Yazdânism, or the Cult of Angels, is a proposed pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The term was introduced by Kurdish scholar Mehrdad Izady to represent what he considers the "original" religion of the Kurds.According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.

The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are the "striking" and "unmistakable" similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism.

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