Characteristics of Javanese culture is very complex. The island has a wide range of cultures, from the primitive, traditional, to modern. Like we said at overview of Java Indonesia, The majority ethnic population of Java island is Javanese and Sundanese. In general, the Javanese inhabiting the center and eastern part of Java while the Sundanese in the the western area. Every single area has its own culture and traditional art.
Jakarta has its own culture, namely “Betawi”. Which the influences reached this Special Capital District for centuries. This Betawi culture is uniquely blending Arab, Portuguese, Chinese, and Dutch elements with native ingenuity such as Malay and Sundanese has produces the colorful. The word “Betawi” is came from “Batavia”, the old name of Jakarta during the Dutch administration.
In Banten province, there are Baduy tribe. Baduy tribe in a native Banten peoples still maintain the anti-modernity, both in garments and others. Baduy tribes living in the area Kendeng Mountains. Baduy dwellings are generally located in river basins in the mountains Kendeng. Banten is also famous for its Debus art. Debus is martial art associated. This traditional and mystical arts combined with dance, voice, and magic.
In West Java province is Sundanese. Sundanese live in west area of Java island with Javanese people. Although Sundanese live in the same island with Javanese, they consider themselves a distinct cultural area called Sunda, you can read about general culture of West Java province in the past articles.
The majority of the population of Central Java are Javanese. Central Java is known as the central cultural of Javanese, where in the city of Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta, there is Javanese royal palaces in this two cities that still stand today. One of the famous musical instruments of these regions is the gamelan orchestra.
A gamelan is a musical orchestra, featuring a variety of instruments such as xylophones, drums, gongs, metallophones, bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included. Javanese gamelan orchestra has a unique scales, which differ from international music, namely “Slendro” and “Pelog”. In Javanese mythology, the gamelan was created by Sang Hyang Guru in Saka Era, the god who controls all the land of Java, with palaces on the Mahendra hill in Medangkamulan (now Mount Lawu).
Wayang or Javanese puppet also the famous traditional art in the central part of Java. This traditional puppet show has been recognized by UNESCO on November 7, 2003, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Puppet has several versions. Wayang Kulit (Shadow puppet) pretty well known in Central Java and Yogyakarta, while the Wayang Golek is more popular in West Java. There is also a puppet version played by men, known as Wayang Orang. Ketoprak also popular in this area.
Culture and customs of the East Java received a lot of influence from the Central Java, so the area is known as Mataraman; indicates that the area was once the domain of the Sultanate of Mataram in Central Java (Now at Yogyakarta and Surakarta). The area includes Madiun, Kediri, and partially Bojonegoro. Just as in Central Java, Wayang Kulit are quite popular in this region.
East Java has a number of distinctive artistry. Ludruk is one of East Java art is quite well known, namely the opera art show that all players are male. Unlike ketoprak in Central Java which tells the life of the ancient palace, ludruk told the daily life of common people, who are often spiced with humor and social criticism, and generally opened with Dance Remo and Parikan. Currently, traditional ludruk groups can be found in the area of Surabaya, Mojokerto, and Jombang, although its presence increasingly defeated by modernization. There is also a famous dance In Eastern side of Java, namely Gandrung dance.
Is a typical artistic Reog Ponorogo which has been patented since 2001, reog now also become icons of East Javanese art. Reog show accompanied by equestrians (kuda lumping) and supernatural elements. Other well-known art of East Java among others ara East Javanese style shadow puppets, Topeng Dalang in Madura, and besutan. In areas Mataraman, Middle Javanese arts such as wayang kulit and ketoprak quite popular. Famous legend from East Java, among others namely Damarwulan and Angling Darma.
Later, in the next articles we will explain more detail about each of these Java Indonesia culture.