Ondel-ondel as Betawi Icon

The Betawi (Orang Betawi, or “people of Batavia”) are the descendants of the people living around Batavia (or Jakarta) from around the 17th century. The Betawis are mostly descended from various Southeast Asian ethnic groups such as Malay, Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese, Minang, Bugis, Makassar, Ambonese, mixed with foreign ethnic groups such as Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Chinese and Indian brought to or attracted to Batavia to meet labour needs, including people from various parts of 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, their short temper, directness and their  openness to others.

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.

Ondel ondel Betawi people is a form of performance that is often displayed in people’s parties. It seems ondel-ondel portray ancestors or ancestors who always keep their grandchildren or a resident of a village.
Ondel-ondel in the form of a large doll that is about 2.5 meters in diameter ± 80 cm, made of woven bamboo, which is prepared in such a way so easily borne from it. Form part of the face mask or a mask, a head of hair made from palm fiber. Face-ondel ondel men usually painted in red, while white women. These forms show many similarities to those in some other areas.
In Pasundan known as Badawang, in Central Java Beans called Barongan, while in Bali known as Barong Landung. According to estimates of performances had been there since before the spread of Islam in Java.

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