Osing people

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Osing people
Using / Blambangan / Banyuwangi
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Portret van drie generaties vrouwen in Blambangan Oost-Java TMnr 10026837.jpg
Portrait of three generations of women in Blambangan, East Java, circa 1910-1930.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
East Java, Indonesia
Osing dialect of Javanese language
Islam & Hinduism (predominantly), Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Balinese people & other Javanese sub-ethnic such as: Mataram, Cirebonese, Banyumasan, Boyanese, Samin, Naganese, Tenggerese, etc.[2]

The Osing people (Ngoko Javanese: ꦮꦺꦴꦁꦎꦱꦶꦁ,[3] Madya Javanese: ꦠꦶꦪꦁꦎꦱꦶꦁ,[4] Krama Javanese: ꦥꦿꦶꦪꦤ꧀ꦠꦸꦤ꧀ꦎꦱꦶꦁ,[5] Ngoko Gêdrìk: wòng Ôsìng, Madya Gêdrìk: tiyang Ôsìng, Krama Gêdrìk: priyantun Ôsìng, Osing : ꦭꦫꦺꦈꦱꦶꦁ laré Using, Indonesian: suku Osing)[6] are a community living in the eastern salient of Java, Indonesia in the easternmost part of East Java. They are the descendants of the people of the ancient Kingdom of Blambangan, whose rulers remained Hindus until they were forced to convert to Islam by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1770. Their population of approximately 400,000 is centered in the province of East Java in the Banyuwangi Regency. The Osings speak the Osing dialect, which shows influences from both the Javanese and Balinese.

Religion and culture[edit]

The Osings are mostly adherents of abangan Islam, although there are some who follow Hinduism. Elements of animism can be seen in their religion too. The Osings share a similar culture and spirit with the Balinese, and the Hindus celebrate ceremonies like Nyepi. It is not uncommon to see mosques and puras (Hindu temples) to be built nearby to each other in Banyuwangi. About 2-3,000 of them are Christians, who also mix some Hindu or Muslim beliefs into their religion. The Osing people are also known for the popular version of Gandrung traditional dance.[7]


The history of the Osings date back to the end of the 15th century, at the time of the fall of Majapahit; to resist conversion to Islam, many of them fled east to Banyuwangi, Bali and Lombok. It was converted to Islam by the Muslim Makassars in the 16th century. The remaining Hindu princes from Majapahit established the Kingdom of Blambangan, which stretched from the Blambangan peninsula right up to the Tengger mountains of Central Java. Blambangan held sway for slightly more than two hundred years before they finally surrendered to the second Mataram Sultanate in 1743. Even then, it did not officially convert to Islam until the 19th century, though small communities of Muslims do pre-exist this date. The cause of the Osing's conversion is that, during the 19th century, when Banyuwangi was still unscathed by the Dutch colony, but knowing that by launching an attack on Banyuwangi, they will lose out in the battle as the Hindu principal puputan was a fight-to-death, the Dutch sent Muslim and Christian missionaries to tame the fighting spirit. Only then Banyuwangi was captured, a long and ambitious dream toward further occupation on Bali was launched by the Dutch.[citation needed]

In spite of the Dutch attempts to propagate Islam and Christianity among the Osings, many still stuck to their old beliefs. Today, a large Hindu population still exists among the Osings.


Further reading[edit]

  • Merle Calvin Ricklefs (2001), A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1200, Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-080-474-4805 

External links[edit]