Know the Origins and Customs of the 5 Biggest Tribes in Java

Getting to Know the Origins and Customs of the 5 Biggest Tribes in Java – Indonesia is a wealthy country. Wealth refers not only to natural products, but also to various ethnic groups, languages, religions, beliefs and customs. For ethnic wealth, Indonesia has hundreds of tribal names, even thousands if broken down to sub-tribes.

Each tribe has different customs and norms. Even so, this diversity does not make the integrity of the nation fragmented. Instead, diversity unites to achieve the goal of a just and prosperous society.

Tribal data in Indonesia itself was first produced through the 1930 Population Census (SP) by the Dutch colonial government. However, this data collection was halted during the New Order era due to a political taboo which saw that discussion of ethnicity was an effort that could threaten the integrity of the nation. It was only 70 years later that the ethnic data began to be collected again during the Reformation period by BPS through SP2000, followed by SP2010.

At least, there are around 1,340 ethnic groups spread throughout Indonesia. Records compiled by BPS in 2010 stated that the Javanese are the largest ethnic group with a proportion of 40.05% of the total population in Indonesia. The rest are ethnic groups living outside Java, such as the Bugis (3.68%), Batak (2.04%), Balinese (1.88%), Acehnese (1.4%), and other ethnic groups. other.

The Javanese people on the other hand do not only live on the island of Java, but there are also those outside Java while still maintaining their cultural values. Therefore, Javanese culture is considered large and very diverse from various sides.

The majority of Javanese people are Muslim, although nowadays many adhere to other religions. The main economy of the people comes from agriculture. Many rural people work as farmers and cultivate the fields. In addition, many of them also work as artisans, for example printing bricks, making batik, weaving, and becoming carpenters. Meanwhile, the Javanese who live in coastal areas generally work as fishermen and sell them at fish auctions.

In general, the majority of the Javanese region is inhabited by Javanese tribes, which are divided into several tribes or sub-tribes. Apart from the Javanese, other major tribes that inhabit this area are the Samin, Tengger, Osing, and Bawean tribes.

In order to better understand the origins and customs of these tribes, let’s look at the following descriptions and explanations together.


1. The Javanese

Javanese society adapts many aspects of Indian culture, such as the epic Ramayana.

(Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata )

The Javanese are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, originating from Central Java, East Java, the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indramayu Regency, Cirebon Regency/City (West Java), and Serang-Cilegon Regency/City (Banten). In 2010, at least 40.22% of Indonesia’s population was ethnic Javanese. In addition, there are also Javanese who live in the countries of New Caledonia and Suriname, because during the Dutch colonial period these tribes were brought there as workers.

Currently, the Javanese in Suriname are one of the largest tribes there and are known as the Javanese of Suriname. There are also large numbers of ethnic Javanese in most provinces of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands.

The majority of the Javanese are Muslim, with some minorities Christian, Kejawen, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian. Even so, Javanese civilization has been influenced by interactions between Kejawen and Hindu-Buddhist cultures for more than a thousand years. This influence is still evident in Javanese history, culture, traditions and art forms.

The Javanese people still adhere to the Kejawen belief. Kejawen itself is a teaching adhered to by Javanese philosophers and is the main teaching in building manners or rules for a better life. Kejawen is a belief, not a religion. Kejawen is more in the form of art, culture, traditions, attitudes, rituals, and the philosophy of the Javanese people which cannot be separated from the spirituality of the Javanese people.

This Kejawen school then developed along with the religion adhered to by its followers, so that it became known as Kejawen Islam, Kejawen Hinduism, Kejawen Buddhism, and Kejawen Christianity. Currently, the Kejawen belief is considered ancient by some people. However, there are still many people who carry out Kejawen traditions, ceremonies and rituals such as nyadran, mitoni, tedhak siten, wetonan , and others.

Traditionally, the majority of Javanese work as farmers. Agriculture is very common because the area of ​​Java has fertile volcanic soil. The main agricultural commodity is rice. In 1997, it was estimated that Java produced 55% of Indonesia’s total crop. Most of the farmers work in small-scale rice fields, with a percentage of 42% of them working and cultivating directly without employing other people.


2. The Samins

Samin tribe in Blora.

The Samin tribe is a group of people who adhere to the teachings of Saminism. This teaching comes from a figure named Samin Surosentiko who was born in 1859 in Ploso Kedhiren Village, Klopodhuwur, Randublatung, Blora. This teaching arose as a reaction against the Dutch colonial government which was arbitrary towards indigenous people.

See also  38 List of Provinces in Indonesia and Their Capitals!

Their resistance was carried out not only physically, but also in the form of opposition to all regulations and obligations that the people had to carry out towards the Dutch colonial government at that time, including refusing to pay taxes.

Samin people have a personality that is innocent and honest. That is, they are open to anyone, including people they don’t know. They consider everyone as brothers, so they always prioritize the attitude of togetherness. Everything that is done by society is never engineered. This is because honesty is one of the manifestations of the character of the Samin people from the teachings they adhere to.

The Samin people really hold ” salat ” which means solahing ilat (movement of the tongue). The tongue must be maintained so that it continues to speak honest words and never hurt others. The tongue is the source of all problems. Don’t hurt others if you don’t want to be hurt, don’t lie to others if you don’t want to be lied to, and don’t harm others if you don’t want to be harmed.

The Samin people generally communicate using plain Javanese or ngoko alus Javanese, which sometimes mixes with krama. Because of that, their conversation sounded a bit rough like the character of the East Javanese.

The Samin people embody life with social solidarity. Currently, the Samin people use a trick or strategy called kumumi , which is to remain silent and not fight the government, but still passively criticize it. In short, in life the Samin people never refuse any form of assistance from the government, but they also never ask anyone for help.

The presence of new technology is acknowledged to have helped them gain experience, especially in agricultural development and other development programs. The Samin community is currently experiencing a transition towards a modern society, which is manifested in the form of associative and dissociative interactions.

The impression of the Samin people is always identified with isolation and backwardness. However, the presence of modern electronic devices, such as radios, televisions, gadgets, washing machines, motorcycles, tractors, rice grinding machines, has now become part of their daily lives.

Some Samin people have even received education up to master’s degree and work as civil servants, police officers, health workers, midwives, and so on. The interesting thing about the current attitude of the Samin people is their persistence in their teachings, even though they have “opened up” to the outside world. They are still guided by the Saminis teachings, which are still upholding honesty, tolerance, togetherness, and mutual cooperation.

3. The Tenggerese

Melasti Ceremony performed by the Tengger tribe in Bromo.

The Tengger tribe or often also called wong Brama is a tribe that inhabits the highlands around the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru Mountains area, East Java Province. The inhabitants of this tribe occupy parts of Pasuruan Regency, Lumajang Regency, Probolinggo Regency and Malang Regency.

The environmental conditions of the Tenggerese who live at the foot of the mountain influence the people’s belief in the meaning of a mountain. For the Tengger tribe, Mount Bromo (local people call it Mount Brahma) is believed to be a sacred mountain. They believe that their ancestors are inside Mount Bromo, so many of the ceremonies they perform are part of ancestor worship which is performed at the foot of Mount Bromo.

There are many meanings contained in the word “tengger”. Etymologically, tengger means standing straight and still without moving (Javanese: calm ). When associated with customs and beliefs, the meaning of “tengger” is tengering nobility (a sign that its citizens have nobility).

According to legend, the origin of the Tengger tribe is closely related to the story of Rara Ateng and Jaka Seger. The name Tengger itself is taken from the names of the two, namely -teng from the ending Rara Anteng and -ger from the ending name Jaka Seger. The Tengger people believe that they are descended from both.

The legend tells that this husband and wife are eight years old and have not yet been blessed with children. They meditated for six years and changed direction every year. Sang Hyang Widi Wasa then responded to their meditation.

From the top of Mount Bromo, bursts of light emerged which penetrated the souls of Rara Ateng and Jaka Seger. There are pawisik (whispers) that say if they will be blessed with children, but the last child must be sacrificed in the crater of Mount Bromo.


4. The Osing Tribe

Three generations of Osing tribal women in Banyuwangi in the 1910s.

(Photo: Tropenmuseum )

The Osing tribe is a native of Banyuwangi who are also known as Laros (acronym for Lare Osing) or Wong Blambangan. They use the Osing language, which is still a sub-dialect of eastern Javanese and is related to the Javanese Arekan and Tengger languages.

See also  difference between may and can

This tribe occupies several districts in the central and eastern parts of Banyuwangi Regency. The majority are in Songgon District, Rogojampi District, Blimbingsari District, Singojuruh District, Kabat District, Licin District, Giri District, Glagah District, and some are in Banyuwangi District, Kalipuro District and Sempu District which mingle with the Madurese and Balinese ethnic communities.

The main arts of the tribe are Gandrung Banyuwangi, Patrol, Seblang, Angklung, Barong Dance, Kuntulan, Kendang Kempul, Janger, Jaranan, Jaran Kincak, Angklung Caruk, and Jedor.


5. The Bawean Tribe

A group of Bawean people in Singapore in 1901.

(Photo: National Archives of Singapore )

The Bawean tribe is also known as Boyan or Bhebien. This tribe was formed due to the mixing of Madurese, Malay, Javanese, Banjar, Bugis and Makassarese for hundreds of years on the island of Bawean. The Malay people of Malacca and Malaysia know this tribe better as Boyan than Bawean. In their view, boyan means “driver” and “gardener” ( kepbhun in the Bawean language), according to the livelihoods of some people from Bawean.

The Bawean people are a small group of Javanese people who come from Bawean Island. This island is located in the Java Sea, which is between Kalimantan Island to the north and Java Island to the south. The island is located about 80 miles north of Surabaya and is part of the Gresik district. The island consists of two districts, namely Sangkapura District and Tambak District.

According to joint research conducted by Muhammad Ihwanus Sholik and other researchers (2016) in a journal entitled Merantau As Culture (Exploration of the Social System of the Bawean Island Community) , the Bawean people migrate to meet economic needs. Residents of this tribe are said to often travel to various areas in search of work. They often travel to various regions in Indonesia and abroad, such as Singapore and Malaysia.

The desire to wander in this tribe has been instilled since childhood. This habit seems to have become a culture that is inseparable from the life of the Bawean tribe. Tarmizi (2017) in the Maulud Tradition of the Bawean Tribe Community in Sungai Datuk Village, Kijang Kota Village, East Bintan District, Bintan Regency also adds that the culture of migrating has been inherent in a man from the Bawean tribe since the 19th century.

The arrival of this tribe to Melaka is very difficult to ascertain because there is no strong historical evidence and documentation. The various opinions put forward cannot show timeliness. The first opinion says that someone named Tok Ayar came to Malacca in 1819. The second opinion says that the Bawean people came in 1824, around the time the British colonized Malacca.

Based on the records of the Singapore Colony Government in 1849, there were at least 763 Bawean people in Malacca and the number continued to grow, while the Malaysian Bawean Association recorded 3,161 Bawean people spread across Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Seremban and Ipoh in 1891.

The third opinion says that the Bawean people were already in Melaka before 1900 and at that time there were already many Bawean people in Melaka. The Bawean people generally live in cities or areas close to cities, such as in Kampung Mata Kuching, Klebang Besar, Limbongan, Tengkera, and the area around the Melaka General Hospital. It is rare to find Baweans living in areas far from the city and their number in Malacca is estimated to not exceed a thousand.

Apart from Melaka, the Bawean people are also scattered in the Klang Valley, such as in the Ampang, Gombak, Balakong and Shah Alam areas. They bought land and built houses in groups. At least, there are two big families of the Bawean people in Gelugor, Pulau Pinang. They use the Malay dialect of Pulau Pinang to speak with people who are not from Bawean.

So, that’s a brief explanation of the Origins and Customs of the 5 Biggest Tribes in Java . The following are book recommendations from sinaumedia that Sinaumed’s can read to learn about tribes in Indonesia so they can fully understand them. Happy reading.

Find other interesting things at . sinaumedia as #FriendsWithoutLimits will always present interesting articles and recommendations for the best books for Sinaumed’s.

Author: Fandy Aprianto Rohman

  • 4 Complete Theories of the Origins of the Indonesian Nation’s Ancestors
  • List of Tribes in Indonesia and Their Social Institutions
  • Papuan Traditional Clothing: Types, Uniqueness, and Philosophy
  • Unique and Rarely Known Traditional Houses in Indonesia
  • Maluku Traditional Houses: Names, History, Types, Uniqueness, and Pictures
  • Papuan Traditional Houses: Types, Functions, Uniqueness, and Philosophy