Original Research

Transforming rituals: Creating cultural harmony among the Dou Mbawa of eastern Indonesia

Abdul Wahid
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7748 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7748 | © 2022 Abdul Wahid | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2022 | Published: 28 July 2022

About the author(s)

Abdul Wahid, Faculty of Ushuluddin and Religious Studies, State Islamic University of Mataram, Mataram, Indonesia


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Abstract

This study revolves around the configurations of Dou Mbawa [People of Mbawa] in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, eastern Indonesia, mapped onto the three main sociocultural-religious groups of Muslims, Christians and Parafu [followers of local beliefs]. It focuses on the Raju ritual as a ‘text’, representing social structures and dynamics of religious tension among the Dou Mbawa, which has been understudied in the existing works of literature. The central position of the Raju ritual is highlighted, as it is born from the cosmological worldview and simultaneously practised by all three religious groups annually. Such interwoven ambiguities occurred in the life of the Dou Mbawa, involving ideology, authority and agents or actors (religious elites), generating tension and confrontation that have led to Raju’s transformation from religious expression to cultural adaptation. Using ethnographic data generated from 2019 to 2020, this study argues that a Raju ritual is a political act that merely reflects the ideology of its supporters and shapes their capital bases and communicative actions to respond to social segregations.

Contribution: This article shows how the Raju ritual promotes cohesiveness and harmony for a religiously diverse community by creating a shared ethnic identity and exercising it as a cultural adaptation.


Keywords

plurality; tension; transformation; harmony; ethnic identity

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