Art and culture

Indonesia is blessed with a rich and diverse mix of traditional cultures and art forms. The basic principles include the concepts mutual assistance or "gotong royong" and communal meetings and gatherings or "musyawarah". Although it finds its roots in an agriculturally based rural life, this system is still in use in community life throughout the country. Social life, as well as rites of passage, is stepped in ancient traditions and customs, or "adat" laws, which differ from area to area. Religious influences on communal life vary from island to island and village to village, depending on local history.

Art forms in Indonesia are not only derived from folklore, as in many other parts of the world. Many were developed in the courts of former kingdoms, as in Bali, where they are integral elements of religious ceremonies. The famous dance dramas of Java and Bali are derived from Hindu mythology and often feature fragments from the Ramayana and Mahabharata Hindu epics.