Animism, a religion of living creatures and spirits
Animism is not considered an official religion by the Indonesian authorities. However, one should remember that animistic rituals were widely practiced throughout the archipelago before the arrival of Buddhism and Hinduism. People deified nature, believed in spirits and worshipped their ancestors. Indigenous beliefs involved making offerings to trees, rivers, mountains to ensure the protection of spirits.
Traditional ceremony in Papua, a land where animism is still alive
Animistic beliefs have deeply imprinted cultures and social behaviours throughout the archipelago. A number of rituals were integrated into the newly embraced religions. Balinese Hinduism is a good example. To this day, animists beliefs can still be encountered in certain remote areas. A number of tribes perpetuate ancient traditions like the Batak in Sumatra and the Papuan people in Papua. Their old animistic beliefs and rituals were adapted to the new religion brought by Portuguese and Dutch evangelisation