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Home >> History >> Toar Lumimu'ut

Toar Lumimu'ut

By : Roderick C. Wahr

The Minahasa is the area on the Northside of the Sulawesi island (used to be called Celebes) in Indonesia. Its inhabitants call themselves 'Orang Minahasa' (Minahasa Person), whereas Minahasas living outside of The Minahasa call themselves Kawanua, which means ´family´.

Houses in Tanah Toraja
Houses in Tanah Toraja
This is the story of Toar and Lumimu'ut. The legend goes that the archmother and father of the Minahasa came from Monggolia. The Monggolians were an unruly group of people who, after they had invaded China, searched for other areas to stay. The best known Monggolian was Genghis Khan.

Groups of Monggolians sailed on ships and arrived in North Celebes through the Philipines. This explains why the Pilipines and the Minahasas in general have somewhat slanted eyes. They (the Mongols) also went on into Celebes until what is now called Tanah Toraja in Central Celebes. There the roofs of traditional houses en buildings have the shape of sailing ships and point to the North with their bows. Here they speak about those invaders as the Gods who came from the North.

The two from whom, according to legend, the Minahasa people descended, came to Northern Celebes, they were the man Toar (sun) and the woman Lumimu'ut (earth). She was a female warrior, shaped from a coral rock, washed in the sea, heated by the sun and fertilized by the West wind. They, at first, camped on a vulcanic island, Manado Tua (Old Manado), close to the shores of the Minahasa, opposite Manado. I quote from the legend by Peter J.M. Nas:

Manado Tua
Manado Tua

"The mother was very beautiful. Her name was Lumimu'ut and she was a descendant of the gods. Her beauty was breathtaking and eternal youth was her bestowed upon her.
When her son, Toar, had become a young man he left her to discover the world. Lumimu'ut owned a long traveling staff and when she bid Toar goodbye she gave him a staff of the same length and she warned him never to marry a family member; therefore he should never marry a woman who had a staff of the same length as his own.
Many years and long travels later Toar returned to his hometown. There he met a beautiful young woman whom he fell in love with and whom he wanted to marry. He did not recognize his own mother in her who indeed had stayed young eternally, and from her side she did not suspect at all that this grown-up handsome young man was her own son.

Statue of Toar and Lumimu´ut
Statue of Toar and Lumimu´ut

Before taking the wedding vow Toar remembered his mothers wishes when he left her for his long journeys. So he layed his staff next to that of his future wife to compare its length.
But during his long travels he had used his staff extensively, so it had grown substantially shorter. So there was nothing that stood in the way of these archparents of the Minahasa.

When later on they discovered their mistake, it was too late and ashamed they left their home town.
During their travels they then arrived in North Celebes at the volcanic island of Manado Tua (Old Manado), opposite the shores near Manado in the Minahasa.

According to this Myth of Creation mankind descends from the woman and not, as in Christianity, from the man whose rib was taken to create woman.

The statue of Toar and Lumimu'ut stands at a little square in Manado, which by the way is not the capital city of the Minahasa, because that is Tondano. Manado, however, is the capital city of the Province of Northern Sulawesi and dominates the Minahasa area with regard to administration and economic matters. Its founding is officially ascribed to Dotu Lolong Lasut, who is also commemorated with a statue in the city. The location of the statue of Toar and Lumimuut in the centre of Manado can be considered the symbolic incorporation of Manado by the Minahasas.

After some time Toar and Lumimu'ut finally decided to go ashore on the continent. When they arrived there they found the coast too hot, so they went deeper into the country and settled in the mountains in Tondano, where it is the climate is cool and fresh. Here they bore their children and slowly populated the region.

The Lake of Tondano
The Lake of Tondano

Of course each of the children of Toar and Lumimu'ut eventually wanted their own area.
The legend recounts that Toar had each of his children choose an area and threw stones in different directions. Where the stones fell there came new settlements Tonsea (man who likes water), Tondano (man who likes the lake), Tombulu (man who likes feathers), Tombasso, Tontemboan (Tompakewa), Toulour, Tomohon. In the legend these 7 areas are the seven regions of the Minahasa that later each created its own tribe with its own tribal head (Kepala Suku -tribal head-, Tonaas -wise man-, Hukum Tua or Hukum Besar -principal judge-).


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