Diverse Indonesia: The Osing people of East Java

by Nick on April 3, 2006

by Nick | April 3rd, 2006  

Exploring Indonesia one could spend a lifetime, learning about unique and interesting animal and plant species and the different human groups that live here. One of the small group that doesn’t usually make the news is the Osing people of East Java.

The Jakarta Post has an article detailing the history of the Osing, who live a life very similar to the provincial Balinese, complete with Hindu heritage, Barong dance and a low tech way of living of the land.

Kemiren near Banyuwangi, is home to this small group of people numbering only 4,800 in total. Their history is like a micro version of East Java. The Osing use a dialect of Javanese directly descended from the royal family of Blambangan, in East Java. The Osing have been greatly affected by all the forces that swept through the area over the last couple of centuries including the advance of Islam, the to and fro between various Hindu kingdoms and the arrival of the Dutch.

Bali has another strong connection to the Osing, because many people fled to Bali during former conflicts. Would be cool to take some time and explore the mountains and national parks in East Java.

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