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Sundanese of Indonesia

Population: 34 million
Primary Location: West Java, Indonesia
Languages: Sundanese, Bahasa Indonesia

Monday
Nov172008

Who are the Sundanese?

The Sunda are the largest unreached people group in Indonesia. Most live in West Java, which they call Pasundan (Sundaland), or Parahyangan (Land of the gods).

Livelihood

The land of West Java is well-watered and extremely fertile, producing a rich harvest of rice and vegetables. The mountains of Pasundan are also home to vast tea plantations. However, Pasundan is seriously overcrowded so family farmland is often very limited (average size 1.5 acres). To supplement their income, many Sunda take seasonal employment on larger plantations as well as working their own farms. Despite these efforts, many Sunda are very poor.

Culture

The Sunda are very friendly. They especially enjoy people who like to make jokes, a trait they refer to as ngabodor. They also make a concerted effort to maintain peaceful relationships and to avoid conflict, rarely expressing differences of opinion that could hurt another's feelings.

Beliefs

While almost all Sunda are outwardly committed to Islam (99.95%), privately they often have a complex mix of beliefs. For example, the evening maghrib prayers are well-attended at Sunda mosques because many Sunda believe these prayers will protect them from the evil spirits of the night. The Sunda often highly revere their ancestors and visit ancestral graves on Muslim feast days such as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid al-Adha. Sundanese people who have made several pilgrimages to Mecca sometimes use the prestige acquired to give authority to healing and other spiritual practices.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for followers of Jesus from Indonesia and beyond whose efforts have begun to produce fruit among the Sunda.

  • Pray for harmony and togetherness among Sunda followers of Jesus who express their Muslim background in different ways.

  • Pray for community leaders to develop workable solutions to the poverty that traps many Sunda people. Pray that followers of Jesus would find ways to assist locally-initiated community development projects rather than imposing their own.

  • Pray for Sunda and Indonesian leaders to govern justly, rather than using power for their own gain.

  • Pray that Sunda fellowships would reach out in love to their own people group, and send members to share the Good News with other peoples as well.

Read the full profile

Sundanese of Indonesia

Learn more about the Sunda

(External Links)

Joshua Project People Profile
Wikipedia
Sunda Music
Sunda Food
Sundanese Writing System
Sunda Architecture
Sunda Travel Blog
Sunda Language - Ethnologue
Sunda Language - Wikipedia