South Sulawesi, Bugis Wedding
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The Bugis are the predominant ethnic group inhabiting the southern peninsula of the island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) in Indonesia. They speak a distinct language also called Bugis, although linguistically and culturally they are closely related to the neighboring Makassarese who are dominant in the southern tip of the peninsula. Their ethnic autonym—”To Ugi'”—derives from a village formerly on the Cenrana River. Other Indonesian ethnic groups often call them “To Bugi,” while the Indonesian label is “Bugis.”
Location. Within the province Sulawesi Selatan, Bugis are concentrated along the coasts of the southwestern peninsula and in the rice plains of its interior, north of the city of Ujung Pandang and south of the mountains of Tana Toraja (roughly between 5° and 4° S along a peninsula spine at 120° E). The region is composed of several agroclimatic zones. The west coast has its highest rainfall in December, while the east coast is wettest around May. Intermediate areas (e.g., interior rice plains) have a bimodal distribution with two dry seasons. Bugis have settled throughout the Indonesian archipelago as traders, fishermen, and farmers, especially in eastern Sumatra and the Riau Archipelago and along the entire shoreline of Sulawesi, as well as in coastal areas of Kalimantan, Buru, Ambon, Flores, and most of the islands of eastern Indonesia. The rhythm of both agriculture and trading has been affected by the prevailing monsoon seasons in all these settlements.
Demography. Extrapolating proportions from the 1930 census, the last to itemize ethnic groups, estimates of Bugis in South Sulawesi in the 1970s ranged around 3.2 million speakers. Given continuing population growth and the many Bugis outside the homeland, a current estimate of over 4 million is not unreasonable. Within the 72,781 square kilometers of the province, Sulawesi Selatan’s 1990 population is projected at 7,082,118, with an average population density of 91 persons per square kilometer and an annual growth rate of 1.74 percent. Continual out-migration keeps the growth rate below the national average; the sex ratio of 96 indicates the preponderance of males in this out-migration.
Linguistic Affiliation. Bugis, Makassarese, Mandar, Sa’dan Toraja, Pitu Ulunna Salo, Seko, and Massenrempulu (Duri) form a distinct South Sulawesi Subbranch within the Western Indonesian Branch of Austronesian languages. Sa’dan Toraja speakers are the closest linguistic relatives of the Bugis, while the speakers of Central Sulawesi languages to the north represent an indigenous population whose occupation preceded that of the South Sulawesi peoples. Bugis and Makassarese share a common script based on an Indic model. In this syllabic script, each of twenty-two symbols stands for a consonant, sometimes prenasalized, plus the inherent vowel a. The five other vowels are indicated by adding diacritics. One further symbol stands for a vowel without a preceding consonant. Writing was developed around 1400, but probably does not derive directly from Javanese kawi.