The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Balinese (people)

The Balinese population of 4 million, or 2.3% of the total country's population, is scattered all over Indonesia, most of whom (3.6 million) can be found in the island of Bali, where they made up 95% of the island's population. (Most of the remainder consists of the descendants of Muslim Javanese men and Balinese women.) Another 350,000 of them can be found in the island of Lombok, where they make up 350,000 of the island's population. Large numbers can be found in the Municipality of Banyuwangi in Java, and smaller numbers can be found in Medan (3,000), Irian Jaya (5,000), Kalimantan, other parts of Java and Sumatra.



The origins of the Balinese came from three periods: The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in the prehistoric times of the proto-Malay stock; the second wave of Balinese came slowly over the years from Java during the Hindu period; the third and final period came from Java, between the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the conversion of Islam in Java, the aristocrats fled to Bali from Java to escape Islamic conversion, reshaping the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture with many Balinese elements. The Balinese people generally got a large proportion of their ancestry from there.


The vast majority of the Balinese follow one religion - Hinduism that is mixed with pre-Hindu mythologies and Animism, and Buddhism. A minority of creole Balinese in Bali that are descended from Javanese Muslim fathers and Balinese mothers follow Islam - more commonly in a nominal way. Another even smaller group of Balinese - which total up to about 30,000 of them- are actually Sasak refugees - either follow Christianity or more commonly, a blend of Christian beliefs that is blended with Hinduism. This group of people, however are considered socially inferior and were regarded as outcasts. Many of them might be either the wives of Caucasian husbands or children of Dutch or British men and Balinese women.

An even smaller group of Balinese, who were largely considered as aborigines, perhaps with a thin veneer of Hindu influence, follow the traditional Balinese Animism in remote villages.




President Sukarno's mother was Balinese.

Last updated: 05-21-2005 20:44:47
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13