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|October 20th, 2009, 06:33 PM||#11|
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Jakarta Capital City Province
Betawi Girl used Traditional Costume
The Betawi are considered the original inhabitants of Jakarta. They are often called "Jakarta People, Batavi, Batawi, or Jakarte." They originated from the mixture of peoples who arrived in Batavia (Jakarta's historical name), and they have occupied the port city since the 15th century. The authentic Betawi people can be found in the outlying areas of Jakarta, such as in Pasar Minggu in South Jakarta, in Condet in East Jakarta, and the area of Kampung Sawah in Bekasi, West Jawa.
Betawi culture is a treasure trove of color, tradition, song, dance, clothing, cuisine, language and dialect. The culture thrives today due to government policy to enhance the cultural identity of the original inhabitants of the city, and prevent their traditions being buried beneath a tide of modernization. There are annual parades and other celebrations in which three-meter tall Betawi mascots (ondel ondel) - are seen delighting the crowds with their large masks and tinsel-sprinkled headdresses.
The language of the Betawi has been adopted by the fashionable younger generation of Jakartans from all ethnic origins, whereas the more formal Betawi Malay is only spoken by the more conservative older generation Orang Betawi.
Betawi Culinary: Soto Betawi
In the inner city, the Betawi live as traders, civil servants, laborers, craftsmen or private employees. In the outskirts of the city (such as Jagakarsa, Cirasas, Cilangkap) most Betawi have agricultural occupations as fruit growers, rice farmers, or fishermen. Their farmland is gradually decreasing because much of it is sold for housing developments, industry, and other modern uses. Consequently, the farmers are changing jobs for more urban work such as laborers, traders, and motorcycle taxi drivers. It is difficult for the Betawi to be separated from their family. If they are in their hometown and experiencing difficulty, they can request financial assistance from their family members. This situation sometimes gives the impression that they are less industrious in seeking a livelihood compared with outsiders.
Betawi couple in wedding party
The formal educational level of this indigenous Jakarta population is usually rather low. Possibly, they have connected "school" with the Chinese or Dutch Colonists' lifestyles, which they have rejected. This antipathy to public education is reinforced when Islamic teachers urge them to avoid government schools and instead study in Islamic schools (pesantren) and seminaries (madrasah).
The Betawi also have special arts such as folk theatre (lenong), giant parade puppets parades (ondel-ondel), traditional brass music (tanjidor), masks (topeng), and puppet theatre (wayang golek). However, today the Betawi are rarely involved in the presentation of their own traditional arts.
Many Betawi orient their daily personal and communal lives toward Islamic ethics. An example of Islam's influence is the following four principles that are followed by most Betawi. First, at every encounter they will use the Islamic greeting, Assalamualaikum, which is answered, Walaikumsalam. Second, they must perform the five daily compulsory prayer times. Third, a daughter must be married when she reaches the eligible age. Fourth, a guest must be served according to the full capability of the host. Their foundational philosophy is, "Blessings are for today. Tomorrow is tomorrow's matter." They believe that God will give blessings, but they also believe in the presence of spirits in places like trees, bridges, and graves.
Betawi Puppet "Ondel-ondel"