Lost in the Village of Osing Tribe

Visiting villages with indigenous tribes must be included in your travel destination ideas. This was one of my best experiences visiting an indigenous tribe with unique culture, traditional houses, and rituals. But don’t worry, this indigenous tribe isn’t like a wild indigenous tribe that will catch you on fire like in movies. “This indigenous tribe is so kind and generous”. Believe me, they will welcome you so well.

So welcome to the village of the Osing tribe! Located in Kemiren village, Glagah subdistrict, Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia. About 15 minutes from the center of Banyuwangi by online transport or public transport.

I reached Kemiren village in the morning, where I saw all of the residents come out to their house yard to dry their mattresses! I was wondering why they do that. All of their mattresses are the same type. Its traditional mattress type comes in black and red mixed colors. Drying mattresses is only one of the series of Osing tribes traditional ceremonies held that day. This ceremony is called Bersih Desa, which means cleaning the village, and is held once a year. The Osing tribe culture often intertwines with mystical elements. They believe that drying mattresses will get rid of physical and mental ailments. You’ll see they beat the mattress with rattan sticks to dispel negative forces. Anyway, you can try this kind of mattress at one of the traditional homestays there.

After drying the mattress, they let me follow them to their kitchen to cook a special traditional Osing tribe’s food named Pecel Pitik, which is grilled chicken with grated coconut seasoning. It’ll be served at night at the Tumpeng Sewu event. Everyone will come for a meal together. Each house will serve lots of dishes on the side of the road in front of their house, and everyone, including tourists, can enjoy them for free! But before that, in the afternoon, you’ll see the Barong Osing procession along the village road. Barong Osing is a man in a costume who depicts a mythical creature to “protect the community from negative forces.” This is also part of the cleaning village ceremony.

Come to the Ngopi Sewu festival, held in late October or early November at Kemiren village.

Coffee lovers come for a thousand cups of free coffee. But you can also taste the coffee typical of the Osing tribe at the Sunday morning market. “You won’t be able to ignore the aroma of Osing Tribe coffee.”

The Sunday morning market at Kemiren village is also a favorite tourist place. I found various cakes and traditional foods of the Osing tribe. But it’s not only that. You can also see Osing tribal cultural performances. Some old women play traditional music called gedhogan, the art of music, by hitting the rice barn. Don’t be surprised by what they chew, which makes their teeth look reddish-black. It is betel leaf mixed with another herb to make their lips red. And they let me try it! What an experience!