All Things about East Java Tradition and Culture

Although both are on the island of Java with the majority of the population from the Javanese tribe, East Javanese culture is different from Central Javanese culture. Find out all about the province of East Java and the culture of East Java!

East Java Province Profile

Before talking about the culture, let’s discuss a little about the profile of East Java Province. As the name implies, the province with the city of Surabaya as the capital is located at the eastern tip of the island of Java. Its territory is not only on the main island, namely Java Island, but also includes the islands of Madura, Bawean, Kangean, and other small islands.

The total area of East Java is around 47,992 square kilometers, with a total population of 39,698,631 people as of 2019. East Java tourism mostly offers its natural beauty that is still beautiful and beautiful. Everything is unique, because you can only enjoy it in East Java. For example, the charm of the Ijen crater in Banyuwangi, Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Baluran National Park in Situbondo, and many more.

The dominant ethnic groups in East Java include the Javanese, the Madurese, and the Chinese. Although Indonesian is the official language, the regional languages of East Java, namely Javanese and Madurese, are more commonly used in everyday life.

The Javanese language in East Java is also different from the Javanese language used in most areas of Central Java and Yogyakarta. East Java mostly uses ngoko (rough) Javanese and language level is usually not considered. While the use of the Madurese language is not only on the island of Madura.

This language is also used in coastal areas such as Pasuruan, Besuki, Sidoarjo, Bondowoso, Jember and Situbondo. In addition to the two regional languages above, the Tenggerese people in East Java use the Javanese Tengger dialect. While the Osing tribe in Banyuwangi uses the Osing language.

East Javanese Culture

Customs and Traditions

East Javanese traditions, as in other regions throughout Indonesia, relate to beliefs and phases of life. Traditions related to life or the life cycle, such as ruwatan, the ceremony of the birth of a baby as a rejection of reinforcements to avoid the threat of Bathara Kala. Other ceremonies have to do with marriage and death. Some traditional ceremonies and traditions related to community beliefs include:

  • Mayang Kubro in Mojokerto Regency
  • Nyadar in Sumenep Regency
  • Nyadran in Sidoarjo . Regency
  • Larung Offerings in Blitar and Magetan Regencies
  • Tumpeng Sewu by the Osing Tribe in Banyuwangi
  • And others

In Tengger, there are many traditional ceremonies related to local beliefs. The most significant and full of meaning and full of historical value is the Kasodo Ceremony. The main goal is to repel bad luck and ask for healing from disease and a bountiful harvest.

The ceremony of offering offerings to the crater of Mount Bromo is also a commemoration of the sacrifice of Raden Kesuma, son of Jaka Seger and Rara Anteng to the legend of the origin of the Tengger tribe. It is named the Kasodo ceremony because it is held every year in the Kasada month of the Javanese calendar, precisely on the 14th day.

Custom Home

in East Java, there are at least two types of traditional houses. Yes. The traditional houses of East Java are from the Javanese and the Madurese. The Javanese traditional houses are more or less the same as those in Central Java, namely the joglo and limasan houses. The use of joglo houses in East Java, for example, is in Ponorogo Regency.

The Madurese traditional house is a slodoran house or a Malang house which is elongated and has no rooms. However, in Madura there are also houses with rooms. It’s called a small house. There are several types of Madurese traditional houses which are distinguished according to the shape of the roof, namely: gadrim, pacenanan, and sekodan.

Traditional clothes

Like the traditional house and the language, the traditional clothes of East Java are also diverse. Basically, the traditional clothing worn on a daily basis is more or less the same in many areas of East Java. Men wear kombor pants (loose pants) above the ankles, as well as various ways of using sarongs.

Meanwhile, East Javanese women more often wear batik bottoms that are sheathed or wrapped around the usual rather than the cloth of the diwiru jarik.

Of the many varieties of traditional clothing in East Java, some are very distinctive. For example, the traditional clothes of the Madurese and the traditional clothes of the Tengger tribe.

Madurese traditional clothes for men consist of ordered shirts and baggy pants or kombor. The outer and pants are all black, with the undershirt in the form of a distinctive red and white striped shirt. Accessories that are often used are headgear and gloves. For Madurese women, they usually wear the kebaya rancongan.

Tengger tribal people who live in cold areas wear sarongs in various ways. How to wear the sarong, among others, named kakawung, sambilan, sesembong, kekodong, sampiran, kekemul, and sengkletan.

East Javanese Arts


The variety of dances in East Java reflects the uniqueness of the region. East Javanese traditional dance is different from traditional dance from Central Java and Yogyakarta is synonymous with gentleness and prudence. The dances that developed in East Java are usually more manly, attractive and vibrant, with the tempo of the accompanying music which also tends to be fast.

Examples of traditional dances from the East Java region include: Remo Dance, Jathilan, Whip Dance, Barongan Dance, Lumping Horse Dance, Gandrung Dance from Banyuwangi, Seblang Dance, Jejer Dance, Kalipang Dance, Tayuban and many more.

Traditional East Javanese Music

The traditional musical instruments in East Java are the same as those in Central Java and Yogyakarta, namely the gamelan. What makes the difference is the rhythm of the music performed by the East Javanese musical style. The East Javanese karawitan style tends to be louder and stomping than the more refined Surakarta and Yogyakarta styles.

What is also typical of East Java is the accompaniment of reog music. The music that accompanies the Reog Ponorogo art performance consists of trumpets, drums, and gongs. In addition, there is also a traditional musical instrument from Banyuwangi called the gedokan which consists of a mortar or mortar, pestle, and two pieces of iron.

Ludruk, The Legendary East Javanese Dramatic Art

Ludruk is a stage drama performance art typical of East Java that raises stories of everyday life spontaneously. This stage, whose dialogue uses the East Javanese language, is entertaining. So, it is not uncommon for jokes to appear along with the course of the show. The Remo dance was the opening act for the ludruk show. Kartolo is a legendary ludruk artist throughout East Java.

Besides ludruk, East Java also has other performing arts as a form of East Java’s regional culture. No less phenomenal are Reog Ponorogo, Janger Banyuwangi, and Karapan Sapi in Madura. Reog Ponorogo is a series of magical and mystical dance performances.

The characters in this show include Warok, Jathil, Bujang Ganong, Prabu Klono Sewandono, and Singo Barong who is Reog Ponorogo’s icon. Singo Barong is a character with a super-heavy giant mask with parts including the head of a tiger, dadak peacock, and krakap. This Dada Peacock Mask weighs almost 50 kg! With a width of about 2.3 meters and a height / length of approximately 2.25 meters.

Where else can you find traditions and distinctive arts like the ones we discussed above? These are all forms of East Java’s cultural heritage that we must preserve.