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The Minangkabau people live in the province of West Sumatra, Indonesia. They are gifted with a unique culture that sets them apart from any other people in the world. A traditional Minangkabau style roof
When you travel throughout the land of the Minangkabau, you see various traditional Minangkabau houses which have the shape of a buffalo’s horns. Similarly, Minangkabau-style hats also have this shape of the buffalo’s horns. There is a legend about the origin of the Minangkabau which explains this interesting traditional style.
According to legend, once there was a disagreement between the Minangkabau people and the Javanese. Rather than involve themselves in a war, however, which would cause much needless bloodshed, the two peoples agreed upon having a fight between their buffalos. The Javanese had a huge, strong buffalo, fierce, and powerful. On the other hand, the Minangkabau people had a small calf. The Javanese were confident that their huge, powerful buffalo would easily defeat this tiny calf. How could a tiny calf beat a huge, ferocious buffalo? What the Minangkabau did was they took the calf away from its mother, and did not feed it any milk for a several days before the big fight. Just before the fight, they attached sharp, iron knives to the tip of their calf’s horns. As the buffalo and the tiny calf were let into the ring, the calf, starving of milk, saw the buffalo, and thought it was its mother. Hurriedly, the calf went to the underside of the buffalo, looking for milk. As it did so, the sharp knives on the calf’s horns pierced the under-belly of the huge buffalo. The huge buffalo was killed, and the Minangkabau won the war. This is how the Minangkabau got their name, according to legend, for “minang” means “victory,” and “kabau” means “caribou” or “water buffalo” in the Minangkabau language. This is also the source of those buffalo’s horn-shaped rooves and hats of the Minangkabau people. Because of stories such as this, the Minangkabau people are known for their cleverness. The story also symbolizes the strength of the more nurturing system of the Minangkabau culture, represented by the calf looking for its mother’s milk, which is able to defeat a more brutish system which on the outside appears strong, represented by the buffalo.

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