Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Thanksgiving for the people of Minahasa or tradition for all
Sonya Indriati Sondakh

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 125
Date: 2019-07-24 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


Thanksgiving in Minahasa, North Sulawesi, is a tradition (oral tradition), which has been practiced for centuries. The Minahasa people keep doing their ancestors’ tradition probably as long as their existence.  This tradition had started when the ancestors who were still practicing animism wished to convey their gratefulness for the good harvest they were provided. When the Dutch colonial came to this beautifully landscaped land with its abundant natural resources, they brought with them the teaching of Christianity through the works of the missionaries. They turned the Minahasa people into followers of Christianity. After they converted to Christianity (both Protestant and Roman Catholic), the church adopted this tradition of the ancestors because it shares the same basic belief that is to be grateful to what God has provided and to always get together to celebrate what God has bestowed them. One of the rituals in this tradition is preparing special food abundantly to be enjoyed by all. At present this thanksgiving tradition, mostly the special food preparation ritual, has transformed into annual event that includes everyone. Thanksgiving in Minahasa has developed into something else, more than just the cultural identity of the Minahasa people, but it has functioned beyond its genuine purpose. In its development this tradition has been used by the local government to implement their political agenda and for other purposes at local and national level. So, the question now is, does Thanksgiving still belong to the Minahasa people? Do the people of Minahasa play their part in this transformation? What is really happening with this tradition?