They were at one time Hinduised, as is evident from their traditions and the many Sanskrit words in their language. They have been Muslims for several centuries and are generally considered the most conservative[clarification needed] Muslim ethnic group in Indonesia. The estimated number of Acehnese ranges 4.6 million people and at least 4.477.000 people live in Indonesia and 81,000 live in Malaysia.
Traditionally, there have been a large number of Acehnese agriculturists, metal-workers and weavers. Traditionally matrilocal, their social organisation is communal. They live in gampôngs, which combine to form districts known as mukims.
Seudati Dance performed at Samalanga, Bireun, Aceh, 1907.
Traditional Acehnese dance portrays the heritage culture, religion and folklore of the common folk. Acehnese dance are generally performed in groups; either in standing or in sitting position, whereby the group of dancers will be of the same gender. If seen from the musical standpoint, the dance can be grouped into two types. One is accompanied with vocals and physical percussive movements of the dancers themselves, and the other is simply accompanied by an assemble of musical instruments.
^Proyek Penelitian dan Pencatatan Kebudayaan Daerah Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan (1977). Geografi Budaya Daerah Istimewa Aceh. Proyek Penelitian dan Pencatatan Kebudayaan Daerah Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan; Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. p. 58. OCLC14166322.
^Margaret J. Kartomi (2012). Musical Journeys In Sumatra. University of Illinois Press. pp. 288–291. ISBN978-025-203-671-2.