Rejang people

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Rejangese people
Tun Hejang
Tun Ejang
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Dansende gadis (maagden) te Kesambe bij Tjoeroep Benkoelen TMnr 10004603.jpg
A group of dancing virgins at Curup, Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu, Indonesia in 1939.
Total population
Circa 1.2 million (2016 estimate)[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Indonesia 1.5 - 2 million[1]
          Bengkulu, 1.1 million[citation needed]
          South Sumatra 30,000[citation needed]
          Others 70,000[citation needed]
Sunni Islam (predominantly), Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Bidayuh, Lembak people, Serawai people, Basemah people

Rejangese people (Rejangese language: Tun Hejang or Tun Ejang) are an Austronesian ethnolinguistic group, native to the some parts of Bengkulu Province and South Sumatera Province in the southwestern part of Sumatera Island, Indonesia. They occupied some area in an cool mountain slopes of the Barisan mountain range in both sides of Bengkulu and South Sumatra. With approximately more than 1,3 million people, they form the largest ethnic group in Bengkulu Province. Rejangese people predominantly live as a majority in 5 out 10 regencies and city of Bengkulu Province, while the rest of them who lives in South Sumatera resides at 7 villages in the district called as Bermani Ulu Rawas. The Rejangs are predominantly an Islam adherent group with small numbers following a religion other than Islam. According to research, Rejangese people are the descendants of the Bukar-Sadong people who moved from the Northern Borneo (Sarawak).


The etymology of the name of Rejang or in Rejang language itself as Jang is remains unclear. Some scholars believe that the term Jang or Rejang has a correlation with the possibility of Rejangese people in ancient time did not reside in Sumatra. They is believed by some scholars to resided in the northern part of West Borneo (not West Kalimantan, the Indonesian Province), around what is called as Rajang River in Sarawak, Malaysia. The term of Rejang used by Rejangese people in Sumatra sounds similar with the name of that river. Here the term Jang or Rejang has its correlation. For somewhat the ancestor of Rejangese people now which was resided the Borneo moved to other island, in this case, the island is Sumatera. They moved from Borneo to Sumatra by passing the strait across the two islands with unclear reason. The term Jang or the verb Mɕrɕjang (the archaic form is Mɕghɕjang) means passed or specifically means passed the strait. However, the meaning of Jang word which is the native term used by Rejangese people to describe themselves as a single entity remains unclear. The usage of that word also limited just for describing the entity of Jang and uncommon in the daily conversation.

Number of Population

The population is not well measured, with estimates from 250,000 to a million. The 2000 Indonesian census estimated the population at around 350,000.[2]


Rejang village heads in Curup, Bengkulu, South Sumatra, Indonesia, circa 1939.

In Bengkulu Province, the Rejangese people are prevalent in Rejang Lebong Regency (districts of Lebong Utara, Lebong Selatan, Curup and Kepahiang), in North Bengkulu Regency (districts of Taba Penanjung, Pondok Kelapa, Kerkap, Arga Makmur and Lais),[3] in Kepahiang Regency,[4] in Lebong Regency and in Central Bengkulu Regency.[5] Majority of them lived in along the slopes of Bukit Barisan mountain range.

Ethnic relations

Neighboring ethnics includes the Serawai people, Bengkulu’s Malay people (Melayu Bengkulu), Kerinci people, Pasemah people, and Lembak people. Rejangese people had always sharing some vocabularies with these people because of the proximity between them. In this common era, there are many inter-ethnic marriage between Rejang with its neighboring ethnics.

Suggested relation with ethnics from Borneo includes Bidayuh, Bukar, and Sadong.


Pencak Silat is one of many kind of Rejangese culture. The Pencak Silat origin from Rejang land well known as Silat Jang Pat Petulai.[6]


Native Language

Rejang language (Alternative term: Rejangese people) which is divided to five major dialects including Cu’up dialect (Well known as Curup, the archaic name is Selupu dialect), Kepahiang dialect, Lɕbong dialect (the standard Rejang based on this dialect), Musɕi dialect (Well known as Musi, another name is Rawas dialect), and Utara dialect (Another name is Pɕsisir/Pɕsisia/Coastal dialect).

Other Spoken Languages

In some places, Rejangese people communicate with non-Rejang using the form of Malay spoken across the Bengkulu Province (known as Baso Bengkulu / Baso Curup / Baso Kito / Baso Melayu / Baso Tobo Kito). For official purpose like in office or school, Indonesian is widely used. For some reason, mostly Rejangese in Lebong regency choose to using Indonesian for communication purpose with non-Rejangese rather than Malay, which the Malay is favour in another places.



Non-denominational Islam almost 75%. However, Rejangese people are generalized as a Sunni Islam and following the Shafi’i school of jurisprudency.


By some estimation, Rejangese people who embrace another religions besides Islam (especially Christianity) is 25% out of 1.2 million total number of population.


  1. ^ Wurm, Stephen A. and Shiro Hattori, (eds.) (1981) Language Atlas of the Pacific Area Australian Academy of the Humanities in collaboration with the Japan Academy, Canberra, ISBN 0-85883-239-9
  2. ^ "Rejang of Indonesia". People Groups. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Rejang in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-11-09. 
  4. ^ Prof. Dr. Taufik Abdullah (2005). Sejarah dan dialog peradaban: persembahan 70 tahun. Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia. ISBN 97-936-7384-2. 
  5. ^ Zulyani Hidayah (1997). Ensiklopedi: Suku Bangsa Di Indonesia. Pustaka LP3ES. ISBN 979-8391-64-0. 
  6. ^ "Silat Rejang akan ditampilkan di Jepang (Rejangese Silat will be shown in Japan)". Antara Bengkulu. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 

Further reading

  • Rois Leonard Arios (2011), Sistem Pewarisan Suku Bangsa Rejang, BPSNT Padang, Departemen Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata, ISBN 978-602-8742-35-1 

External links

  • Rejang Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version;
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