The indigenous people of Jakarta are the Betawi, a community of mixed descent, a mixture of different races and ethnic groups, who for generations have made Jakarta their home. Very outspoken and democratic, the Betawi have assimilated different cultures in their daily life, arts, music and traditions. Staunch Muslims, the Betawi blends the original Malay language with neighbouring Sundanese words, mixed with Javanese, Chinese, Indian, Arab and Dutch words.
The Betawi also absorb music from different races, including from the colonial Portuguese, Dutch, Arab and Indian traders, as also from neigbouring West and Central Java, making it all their very own.
About the people in Jakarta
If you ask the people who has worked or lived in Jakarta they will tell you the same. The city is awesome. Jakartans welcome visitors with open arms. The friendly inhabitants of the capital are always willing to make a short chat with you out of curiosity.
Mix of Indonesian ethnic cultures, all combined in Jakarta
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or Indonesia in Miniature Park, initiated by former First Lady ms. Soeharto, is a huge park which displays life-sized traditional houses from throughout all of Indonesia’s 33 provinces. Taman Mini aims to display and educate the coming generations about Indonesia’s large diversity in culture, religion and traditions, yet united in the one nation of the Republic of Indonesia.
Authenic things that you can only find in The Greater Jakarta area
This typical Betawi music known as Tanjidor is said to have originated in the Dutch plantations located in the suburbs around Batavia, such as at Depok, Cibinong, Bogor, Bekasi and Tangerang, where local slaves used to play for their Dutch masters.
Nowadays, Tanjidor can be found fused with the Malay-origin Gambang Kromong music that include the tambourine, beduk, gendang, kempul and more.
The Lenggang Nyai Dance
A contemporary creation, the Lenggang Nyai is performed by either 4 or 6 girls. Lenggang Nyai expresses both the gracefulness and vivaciousness of the Betawi woman. Wearing bright red or green dresses and Chinese headbands, the girls sway their body, hands, and feet with graceful and brisk movements.
Ondel-ondel are the giant puppets that are inseparable from the Betawi culture and are now the icon of Jakarta. These are made on bamboo frames to allow persons to carry them around from the inside. This dance has elements from the Cokek and the Mask dance and distinct Chinese influences.