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Sundanese Culture

Tanah Sunda has its own unique culture and language, both called Sundanese which is also used to call its people.

Wayang goleks (wooden puppets) are used by the Sundanese to tell the epic play "Mahabarata" and various other morality type plays.

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Accompanying "The Mahabarata" is an orchestra called gamelan. The gamelan uses a five note scale as opposed to the seven-note western scale.

The musical arts of Sunda, which is an expression of the emotions of Sundanese culture, include some of the most beautiful sounds in the world. The "tembang sunda" with the kacapi (zither) and either suling (bamboo flute) or vocal accompaniment, and also the degung with its gamelan provide moments of rare musical beauty.

The Sundanese are also known for musical instruments called angklungs, which consist of a frame upon which hang several different lengths of hollow bamboo. Angklungs are played like handbells, with each instrument played to a different note.

Other cultural heritage of Sundanese are:

Dances :

ketuk tilu, tari merak (dance "peacock"), jaipongan (popular Sundanese social dance), tari topeng (mask dance), sisingaan, etc.

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Tari Merak (Dance "Peacock")

Photo courtesy of LSS ITB


Sundanese Pupuh (Sundanese poetic meters):

Pupuh specify the number of lines in each verse as well as the ending syllables of each line

Pantun Sunda :

Pantun Sunda is a genre of Sundanese oral narative performance in which a solo storyteller recounts the glory of past kingdoms and the exploits of heroic figures.

Calung :

Calung is a humorous performance in which a group of 4 - 6 people led by a leader performing humorous conversation and in certain periods conducting musical performance using some peaces of angklung instruments with funy lyrics.

Sisindiran :

Sisindiran is an oral performance in which two groups of people reciprocally conducting humorous questions and answers performance using poetic meters; one group asks a question and the other group answers it (and the answer may include a question for the opposite group).

Tarling (guitar and flute music typical to Cirebon)

Sandiwara (opera)

Traditional humorous story: "Kabayan, the innocent man"


Foods and Beverages

Tanah Sunda has many typical foods. They, among others, are dodol Garut, tahu Sumedang (soybean typical to the town of Sumedang), oncom Bandung, peuyeum Bandung, tauco Cianjur, and soto Bandung.

Tanah Sunda also has famous drinks. They are, among others, bandrek (made of water, brown sugar, long thin chopped coconut, and ginger), bajigur (made of water, brown sugar, coconat juice, and pandan leaves), cendol, and sakoteng.