History and Types of Betawi Traditional Houses

History and Types of Betawi Traditional Houses – Betawi is one of the most diverse tribes in Jakarta. This is because the community is made up of various ethnic groups in Indonesia. So it is not surprising that the people there have a very high tolerance for other people.

This is realized or characterized through the building of traditional houses which are rich in meaning. There are many interesting things about the Betawi traditional house, starting from its history, building philosophy, and the various types of buildings. To find out more, see the following review of the Betawi traditional house.

History of the Betawi Traditional House

History is an important thing that should be studied. Especially for the history of the Betawi traditional house. This Betawi traditional house is also closely related to the existence of the Betawi people themselves. Betawi itself comes from the word Batavia, which became the nickname of the city of Jakarta in the past.

When the Dutch colonial government conducted a population census in 1930, it was only recently that Betawi was known to exist. Betawi became a separate ethnic group in Indonesia at that time. They are referred to as the ethnic group that inhabited Batavia at that time.
Actually, the Betawi ethnicity is a combination of residents from various regions. Among them are Java, Bali, Makassar, Sunda and Sunda which were previously imported by the Dutch government. In the end, the inter-ethnic marriages that inhabited Batavia became ethnic Betawi residents.

If you look again, this Betawi traditional house is influenced by cultural acculturation. Where there were several tribes in the Batavia area, they merged with each other. As a result, you can see the architecture of the Betawi traditional house.

There are two cultures that merge in the traditional house, including international and local culture. From its appearance, you can see the shape of the Betawi house is almost similar to the typical Joglo house in Central Java.
Then you will also see some of the characteristics of the Sundanese stage houses there. Then, international culture is also involved in the Betawi traditional house. Ornaments and ornaments used by the Betawi people, such as in the manufacture of doors and windows, are adopted from foreign cultures, such as Arabic, European and Chinese.

Types of Betawi Traditional Houses

Each region certainly has more than one traditional house. In addition to being the result of the culture of a region, these kinds of traditional houses are also characteristics of people’s lives. In Betawi itself, only the Kebaya house is officially registered as a traditional house. However, besides that there are still several types that are also there. Among them are Stage houses, Joglo houses, and Warehouse houses.

Although not officially recorded, these houses still exist in Betawi and have been preserved by residents until now. So that its existence is also quite influential on the culture of the local community. For more details, see the following reviews of the four Betawi traditional houses:

1. Kebaya House

Kebaya may be better known as traditional custom clothing. Yes, perhaps the name of the Kebaya house is not well known to the wider community. In fact, this type of house has been officially recognized as a Betawi traditional house.

Why is it called Kebaya? Because the shape of the roof of this house is similar to a folded saddle. Then if you look at it from the side, the folds will look like the folds on a kebaya cloth.

In this Kebaya house there are also certain rules in the division of space. Usually, homeowners divide space into 2 areas, one for semi-public (receiving guests, etc.) and the other for private space. Public areas are generally placed at the front, namely as a terrace and living room. If you visit the Kebaya house, you can come and sit freely in that area.

Meanwhile, there are various private areas of the Kebaya house, such as the bathroom, bedroom, dining room, kitchen and yard. This area is usually only allowed to be seen by certain people, can be relatives or close relatives.

There is also a special room for guests in this house, named paseban. As a tribute to guests who stay, this room will be decorated and made as good as possible. The doors are carved, or the roof is laced like a kebaya. But this paseban can also be used as a place of worship if there are no guests staying overnight.

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2. Warehouse

The second Betawi traditional house is the Gudang house. Usually this type of house will be found in the interior. As already explained, several types of houses are formed based on the location and culture around it. So, there are rules that only allow people in remote areas to build these Warehouse houses.

The shape of the Warehouse house is elongated like a rectangle. The roof has a gable structure on top of which is equipped with jurai and shield ornaments. Then the horse structure is used for the roof structure of the barn house.

In the warehouse house there are two divisions of space with different functions. The front room is used to receive guests, then the middle for the kitchen and bedroom. Warehouse houses generally don’t have a back, because the back room will be combined with the living room.

3. Stage House

The next traditional house is the stage house. This house is similar to Si Pitung’s house. These buildings are usually located in coastal areas. This high stilt house has been adapted to the coastal area, so if there is a high tide the house is still safe and not submerged in water.

Most of the materials used in the construction of stilt houses are wood. Apart from being easy to shape, in the past wood materials were much easier to find.

If you visit a stilt house, you will find simple and unique Betawi ornaments. Usually the ornaments used are geometric carvings, such as squares, diamonds, or circles. The installation also varies, there are doors, windows, and other parts.

4. Joglo House

Apart from being known as a Javanese traditional house, the joglo house is also known as a Betawi traditional house. Even so, the two certainly still have differences. If the Central Javanese Joglo house has a roof like a trapezoid, the Betawi joglo house has a roof like an overturned boat. Then if the Javanese Joglo is known for its buffer or pillar, then that is not the case with the Betawi joglo.

The Betawi Joglo traditional house has a square shape and the building is made elongated. Then, the house is divided into three rooms. First the front room, then the middle room, and the back room. As usual, the vestibule is used to receive and entertain guests.

Then the living room is filled with living room and bedroom, the place is more private than the front room. Then the back room is used for the bathroom and kitchen. This joglo house has a wider architecture than other houses.

So that those who have Joglo Betawi houses are usually people with high social status. Apart from its architecture, the wood material is also quite expensive, and these houses are usually located on the outskirts of the city.

The Philosophical Meaning of the Betawi Traditional House

Betawi traditional house consists of several types. One of the characteristics attached to Betawi houses is the wide terrace. This terrace is intentionally made wide, its philosophical meaning is as a place to receive guests and to gather and relax with family members.

This is quite different from modern homes where the family room is usually on the inside. However, this traditional house is different, even with a wide terrace it can make them more comfortable to have fun together.

On the terrace, you will usually place a bale-bale chair made of rattan, bamboo or teak wood, which is called an amben. The terrace floor uses gejogan, which shows respect for guests who come to the house. For the Betawi people, it turns out that this gejogan is quite sacred. The reason is because it is directly related to the entrance to the house which is named balaksuji.

Apart from that, the wide terrace of the house also means that the people of the house or Betawi people are very open to the arrival of guests. Moreover, the Betawi people are also known to highly value pluralism or differences between ethnic groups and religions. This is very reasonable, considering the history of the Betawi people who came from the association of several tribes in Indonesia.

There is also another meaning for the fence built on the front of the Betawi house. It turns out that there is a certain philosophical meaning from the existence of a fence that surrounds the house on the front. This fence for the community is interpreted as a barrier to negative things from the outside that can enter the house. So hopefully, with a fence, the atmosphere in the house always has a positive aura. Because negative things have been blocked by the existence of a fence.

Then some Betawi people also made a well in front of the house and made a grave next to the house. The tradition of making graves beside the house is an old tradition for the Betawi people. Therefore, from the past, the Betawi people were known to own large tracts of land and land.

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Each division of space in the Betawi traditional house also has its own philosophical meaning. Here are the characteristics of the space:

  • The front porch of the house, as a place to receive guests. It will always be cleaned every day as a tribute if guests come at any time.
  • Paseban or rooms that are specifically for guests who will spend the night. In addition to guests, paseban is also often used as a place of worship.
  • Pangkeng or a place to gather with family. Usually there is also in the middle, which serves to gather with family.
  • There are usually quite a lot of bedrooms in Betawi houses. The most extensive main section will be devoted to homeowners
  • Srondoyan or kitchen, which is a large place at the back. This place is used as a cooking room, as well as a place to eat.

Unique Characteristics or Uniqueness of Betawi Houses

Like other traditional houses, the Betawi traditional house also has characteristics that distinguish it from other traditional houses in other regions. Here are some of its characteristics:

1. Does not have a bathroom attached to the main building

The first uniqueness is the absence of a bathroom in a traditional house. The Betawi people have certain principles that are trusted and upheld by the people. One of them is to say, all dirt must be removed from the main building or buildings where they live.

This is intended so that the occupants of the house or anyone who lives in the house remain clean both physically and mentally. Therefore, not every Betawi traditional house has a bathroom attached to the main building. Generally they put the bathroom behind the house, separate from the main building.

2. Using carvings and ornaments that have meaning

Then the second is the number of carvings or ornaments inside and outside the house that contain meaning. Each display in the Betawi traditional house has its own meaning. Apart from being a decoration to beautify the room, there is also a meaning that is expected. Here are the meanings of some of the carvings and ornaments commonly found there:

  • The carving of jasmine flowers, which means that the owner of the house must have feelings and a fragrant heart like when jasmine flowers bloom. This is symbolized through carvings of jasmine flowers, which have a fragrant smell. Usually this carving is displayed on a pole.
  • Sunflower carving, which means every home owner’s life must be an inspiration for local residents. Its meaning is as a light, which can illuminate the hearts and minds of family members in the house. Usually this sunflower carving is installed on the living room door.
  • The carvings of gunungan or tumpal, which symbolize the forces of nature, namely the universe or macrocosm, human or microcosm, and the unseen world or metacosm.
  • Other carvings have the meaning of elegance, such as the Kim Hong flower which means tenacity, then the deer means agile and responsive, and there is a peacock which means splendor.
  • Gigi balang ornament, which is an ornament of wooden planks in the form of inverted triangles lined up. Usually this ornament is installed under the roof of the house or on the skirting board. The meaning of this display is that the Betawi people must live in honesty, must be diligent, tenacious, and patient. This is likened to a locust, which can only break plants if it is tenacious, continues to work even though it takes quite a long time.

3. Has a low fence with a wide terrace

As previously explained above, the traditional house there has a wide terrace. The pavilion or terrace is usually equipped with seats as well as benches or places to lie down. All of that is prepared to entertain guests who come. This means that the Betawi people are indeed very open to various new people, and do not look at ethnicity, religion, or race.

In addition, the fence that is made around the front of the house is generally not too high. The fence is made low about 80 cm with a thickness of about 3 to 5 cm. The material is made of wood. The meaning of this low fence is that there is a boundary between the outside world and the house.

The hope is that the house can be protected from negative things outside the fence. Then the entrance to the house also has a meaning, namely for guests who come should have good manners. When entering the house must go through the front, not the back.