Adat and Adat-istiadat (Plural) are the Indonesian terms for customs and traditions. It usually refers to unwritten customary law regulating traditional social relationships. Adat is the sum total of all customs, mores and lore.

In the Central Moluccas, the ancestors instituted Adat in the distant past. They would punish those among the living transgressing it. The rules of Adat formed the common basis of interaction between indigenous Moslems and Christians, assuring a common identity and peaceful coexistence between the two segments of society.

Only recently, proponents of religious “purity” on both sides called “ancestor worship” to be “sinful” and the continuous attacks weakened Adat to such an extent that it no longer was functional in Christian-Moslem relationships. This was at least partially responsible for the outbreak of the internecine fighting between the two groups in 1999 as well as for the violent excesses that occurred during the unrest (kerusuhan) that died down in 2003.

Realizing the importance of Adat for peaceful relations, leaders on both sides have been trying to revive Adat in their efforts of reconciliation.