|5 million (2000 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Jakarta: 2.3 million|
|Islam (predominantly), Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Sundanese, Javanese, Malay|
The Betawi (Orang Betawi, or "people of Batavia"; also called "Betokaw" in Betawi slang) are the descendants of the people living around Batavia (the colonial name for Jakarta) from around the 17th century. The Betawis are mostly descended from Southeast Asian ethnic groups such as Malay, Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese, Minang, Bugis, Makassar, Ambonese, mixed with foreign ethnic groups such as Mardijker, Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Chinese and Indian brought to or attracted to Batavia to meet labour needs, including people from Indonesia. They have a culture and language distinct from the surrounding Sundanese and Javanese. The Betawis are known for their music, traditions and food as well as being overtly Islamic, egalitarian, short tempered, direct and open to others.
The name "Betawi" derived from the name "Batavia", the old colonial name of Jakarta.
The Betawi language is a Malay-based creole language. It is closely related to Malay. Betawi vocabulary has large amount of Hokkien Chinese, Arabic, and Dutch loanwords. Today Betawi dialect is a popular informal language in Indonesia and used as the base of Indonesian slang.
Betawi people are overwhelmingly Muslims. Islamic teachings and traditions are well embedded and alive in their culture and social system. Ulama (also called kyai or haji) hold important position in Betawi society. However, there is a small enclave of Christian Betawi in Tugu area, North Jakarta who are descendants of Portuguese people.
The artform of the Betawi people demonstrate the influences experienced by them throughout their history. The Ondel-ondel large bamboo masked-puppet is similar to Chinese, Balinese and Sundanese artform of masked dance. The traditional wedding dress of Betawi displays Chinese influence in bride's costume and Arabian influences in groom's costume. The dances costumes shows Chinese and European influences, while the movements such as Yapong dance is derived from Sundanese Jaipongan dance with a hint of Chinese style. Another dance is Topeng Betawi dance. Betawi people borrowed Chinese culture of firecrackers during wedding, circumcisions or any celebrative events. The Gambang kromong and Tanjidor, as well as Keroncong Kemayoran music is derived from the kroncong music of Portuguese Mardijker people of Tugu area, North Jakarta. The tradition of bringing roti buaya (crocodile bread) during wedding is probably a European custom. Pencak Silat is a popular martial art of Betawi people.
Notable Betawi people
- Muhammad Husni Thamrin
- Sultan Jayakarta
- Miss Unique Rose, performer, humanitaire activist
- Benyamin Sueb, Indonesian singer and actor
- Fauzi Bowo, governor of Jakarta 2007-2012
- Ismail Marzuki, Indonesian composer and musician
- Iko Uwais, martial art actor
- No Money, No Honey: A study of street traders and prostitutes in Jakarta by Alison Murray. Oxford University Press, 1992. Glossary page xi
- Castles, Lance The Ethnic Profile of Jakarta, Indonesia vol. I, Ithaca: Cornell University April 1967
- Guinness, Patrick The attitudes and values of Betawi Fringe Dwellers in Djakarta, Berita Antropologi 8 (September), 1972, pp. 78–159
- Knoerr, Jacqueline Im Spannungsfeld von Traditionalität und Modernität: Die Orang Betawi und Betawi-ness in Jakarta, Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 128 (2), 2002, pp. 203–221
- Knoerr, Jacqueline Kreolität und postkoloniale Gesellschaft. Integration und Differenzierung in Jakarta, Frankfurt & New York: Campus Verlag, 2007
- Saidi, Ridwan. Profil Orang Betawi: Asal Muasal, Kebudayaan, dan Adat Istiadatnya
- Shahab, Yasmine (ed.), Betawi dalam Perspektif Kontemporer: Perkembangan, Potensi, dan Tantangannya, Jakarta: LKB, 1997
- Wijaya, Hussein (ed.), Seni Budaya Betawi. Pralokarya Penggalian Dan Pengem¬bangannya, Jakarta: PT Dunia Pustaka Jaya, 1976
Follow other stories about the Betawi people and community on Rombes (Rombongan Besan) main site