Not only is Jakarta one of Asia’s most prominent metropolitan centers, it also represents Indonesia’s diverse culture consisting of 300 ethnic groups speaking 500 different languages and practicing over 5 major religions. A city brimming with contrasts, Jakarta is where you will find both simple and complex infrastructures and traditional elements among modern architecture.
The Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. There are six religions recognized in the country, the most prominent being Islam, the remaining being Protestant, Catholic, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. In Jakarta, specifically, 85% of the population practice Islam.
Jakarta is believed to be found in the early 16th century in the harbor town, then known as Sunda Kelapa. It was renamed to Jayakarta when Prince Fatahillah from Cirebon conquered the land. Soon after, it was renamed to Batavia under Dutch rule. The name Jakarta came to be shortly after World War 2 when the Japanese invaded and renamed it to win the sympathy of the Indonesians.
Jakarta’s culture is a fusion of many, melted together to form a new, more enriched urban culture with hints of century old traditions. The indigenous people of Jakarta are the Betawi who are descendants of the Chinese, Indians and Arabs. People speak Bahasa Indonesia, the official language, which is a variation of Malay. Other common languages spoken are Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese.
Jakarta hosts a number of celebrations and festivals that are full of life, enlivening the city and enthralling travelers with colorful decorations, wholesome food, and stimulating music:
- Festival Jalan Jaksa (June) - A true street festival with a variety of local cultural shows such as palang pintu, silat, gambang kromong, tanjidor, marawis and ondel-ondel.
- Jakarta Fair (June/July) - The annual Jakarta Fair is the largest of its kind in Indonesia, with traditional celebrations, food, and art in abundance.
- Independence Day (August 17) - this public holiday is a national highlight, with most neighborhoods holding ceremonies and lively contests within their communities.
Contact our Concierge to learn more and experience the culture of Jakarta.