Perplexing Partuturan

Once, I read a book on Simalungun culture just to find a loophole in our Partuturan rules (It’s similar to Genealogy as it studies one’s bloodline and family members but it’s not limited to familial relations, see Tutur Natipak below).

It was me trying to elude fate.

It was a fruitless effort. Say I did find one obscure gap; convincing and getting the whole family to agree upon it would be taxing.

Not that it was necessary, but it was better to have everyone in your family to support your decision.

That attempt was only regarding someone with Tutur Holmouan. And regarding Tutur Manorus?
ah.. forget it.

Tutur, the beginning…

I tried to give definitions to the followings but I couldn’t. Rather than giving you misleading explanations, I only provide examples to these Tutur (also assuming the lists and descriptions in Wikipedia are correct). Some of these Tutur also depend on whether you are a man or a woman. Here, I will describe it from the point of view of a Bataknese man.

I will update the lists in the future and provide interesting examples if I find more.

  1. Tutur Manorus:
    Directly related to you, whatever ‘directly’ means. It’s still straigthforward here.

    • Your children’s spouses: Hela (your daughter’s husband), Parumaen (your son’s wife)
    • Your dad’s sister: Amboru (her husband is your Mangkela)
    • Your mom’s brother: Tulang (his wife is your Aturang)
    • Your dad’s sister’s daughter:
      Botoubanua (if you are a woman, this Tutur is applied differently)
    • Your parents’ parents:


  2. Tutur Holmouan:
    An ‘indirect’ relation that is related to Simalungun culture. This is where some lines are blurred.

    • Your potential spouse: Pariban

      Also, in my family, my Tulang’s daughter is my Pariban i.e. I can marry her.However, generally, Bataknese man/woman would call someone their Pariban if that person’s family name is their mom’s/dad’s.

    • Your dad’s brothers: Bapa Tua (older brother), Bapa Tongah (younger brother but not the youngest), Bapa Anggi (youngest brother).

      Their spouses are called Inang Tua, Inang Tongah, and Inang Anggi, respectively.

    • Your mom’s sisters: –
      Okay, another mystery.

      In my family, though, we simply use the same rule as of dad’s brothers and apply it to mom’s sisters e.g. Inang/Mak Tua (older sister), Inang/Mak Tongah or Nongah for short (younger sister but not the youngest), Inang/Mak Anggi or Nanggi for short (youngest sister).

    • Your sister’s children: Panogolan


    • Your brother’s children: –

      What? Your brother’s children don’t get any Tutur?

  3. Tutur Natipak:
    This Tutur is given to people whom you have some relations but not necessarily a familial one. It can be used to call others more politely.

    • Your wife’s brothers-in-law: Nasikaha

      This Tutur is applicable to your wife.

    • Another man of your age: Ambia

      You can call your male friends with this.

    • Your older brother’s wife: Kaha

      Your sister-in-law from your older brother.

    • Your younger brother’s wife: Nasianggiku

      Another simple and specific Tutur for your sister-in-law.

    • Your sister’s husband: –

If you look it up in Wikipedia, the lists are way longer than I showed you here.

There is also a special Tutur rule I know of but I haven’t verified it officially. It goes like, if someone is having a Tutur with you, then you have the same Tutur with them too.

Example: You call someone your “Ompung”, then they can call you “Ompung” too.

OK. It’s absurd. You call your sister’s children “Panogolan” and they can call you “Panogolan”? Pft. No. They will call you “Tulang”. So, that means this special rule only applies to some Tutur. The ones I know are “Ompung”, “Botou”, “Sanina”, “Lae”. Or maybe it is only in my family?

Beyond Tutur

“Well, Tutur is a rule to determine how you call someone in your family then.”

Yes and no.

It extends beyond your family. It plays a role on how you call someone when you know their family name (the first question most Bataknese will ask when we meet each other), their age, their status, their lineage, and some more.

Easier examples

You meet a woman of your age, with the same family name as your dad’s. You call her “Botou”; her age is irrelevant.

You meet a man of your age, with the same family name as your dad’s. You call him “Sanina”; his age is irrelevant.

( There is an exception if you and the other person is on different depth in your traceable family tree. Details on future posts.)

A contrived but possible scenario

Pay attention to the words separated by a forward slash.

When you (a man/woman) meet the opposite gender who has the same family name as your mom’s/dad’s, then the other person is your Pariban. Of course, that is until you know that the other person’s mom’s family name is the same as your dad’s/mom’s.

You will have two Tuturs for the other person’s parents. You can call them your Tulang and Aturang. Or you call them, your Amboru and Mangkela. And then the other person’s “Pariban” Tutur is questionable.

I heard of the last example just this evening. I can’t say much about it too.

Then how can I know for sure what Tutur I have with [Insert a person here]?

Man, I wish I can answer this too but I will look up the official “docs” about this. And I will post some more articles on Tutur then.

In the meantime, jot down your thoughts in the comment about this. Share what you know about Tutur, and improve my explanations in this article and I will credit you in the next edit or posts.


  1. Partuturan – Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas. 

Author: Arga Roh Sahrijal Saragih

I love to learn. I love to code. I love to read. Gonna be a professional Software Engineer. Happy to sing and to write. Enjoy a good company. Prefer tea. Manage an online library at

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