Who are your pela’s? Find them on Atlas Maluku!


Have you always wanted to know who your pela’s are or which family names belong to which villages? Atlas Maluku answers these questions. In collaboration with Hans van Hernen, Muma launches a prototype of this website. The pela-relations are ready to be searched for, the navigation for the names will be fixed as soon as possible. Also you can contribute. The website is not complete yet. Some family names and pela-relations or teabels are still incomplete. The website will also be expanded with (links to) pictures, movies, and documents. If you would like us to add a link to your website, please let us know. Other information, additions or corrections are also welcome.


What does Pela mean?

The pela –i.e. alliances that could exist between villages in the Moluccas and which are associated with a system of rights and duties- is considered as a typical characteristic of the Moluccan culture (although there are also areas in the Moluccas which are not familiar with the system at all). Also in the Netherlands, many Moluccans see the pela as a pillar of their identity.

In the past, pela alliances were closed when villages had supported each other in times of war or when a special event took place which rendered pela alliances. Also villages with different religious backgrounds may become pela of each other. The rules of the alliance –i.e. mutual help and respect- applied and still apply to all residents of the villages concerned. A common prohibition is that of intermarriage. If you are pela, you could not marry someone from the same pela. Also in the Netherlands, many Moluccans keep the tradition of pela alive. If you are pela with each other, it feels as a family tie. You help and support each other.

In the Moluccas, there are regular meetings held which are called ‘Panas Pela’. This literally means: warming up the pela. Through such ceremonial meeting, the alliance which are sometimes 100 years old, are renewed. The contacts are, as it means, kept warm.

Nowadays, people look up the Moluccans to their pela and other traditions as a mean to help the people to live together in harmony after the violence of some years ago.