Sunan Kalijågå, Java’s most popular saint (see Bandit Saints of Java chapter one), is said to have inaugurated the annual Sekaten celebrations in Demak as a way of attracting people to Islam. Sekaten continues to be celebrated every year in the alun-alunsquare in front of the Grand Mosque of Demak and in the alun-alunsquares of Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta.
Sekaten celebrations cheer crowds in Surakarta
GANUG NUGROHO ADI
THE JAKARTA POST November 22, 2018
Sekaten is a popular annual tradition in Surakarta and Yogyakarta. The month-long tradition that commemorates Maulid Nabi Muhammad (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) has always been a time for the public to celebrate.
Throughout the night, the North Square of Surakarta, where Sekaten is held, is packed with people.
One of the highlights at the event is the night market, which features a crowd of attractions such as the tong setan (demon tong), drumolen (rotary comedy) and a Banyu waves Ferris wheel.
Hundreds of traders line up pottery piggy banks in the form of various animals and traditional children’s toys. Night market special snacks are also available, such as sweet arum, popcorn and egg martabak (pancakes).
Sekaten, according to Pengageng of the order of the Surakarta Kasunanan Palace, Gusti Pangeran Haryo (GPH) Dipokusumo, comes from the Arabic word shahidatain (confession of faith). Another version of its possible origins, said Dipokusumo, is the word sekaten taken from the name of a set of the Demak Kingdom’s heritage gamelan, Kyai Sekati, which means that living people must be able to weigh the good and the bad.
The younger brother of Paku Buwono XIII said Sekaten was a symbol of Islam performed by the guardians, especially Sunan Kalijaga, during the Kingdom of Demak. At that time, each time before the Prophet’s Maulid, the gamelan was placed in the mosque to gather people.
For days people packed the mosque yard and the square to listen to the strains of the Kyai Sekati. Sunan Kalijaga completes the event with a market that sells regional specialties and art attractions.
Sekaten eventually became a hereditary tradition circa the 15th century on the north coast (Demak), to inland communities (Pajang and Mataram).
As it developed, the two kingdoms of the fractioned Mataran, Surakarta and Yogyakarta, packed Sekaten with a number of other traditions, such as eating food and fighting over gunungan (mountain of offerings).
The Surakarta Palace started Sekaten on Tuesday, with the beating of a pair of gamelan, the Kyai Guntur Madu and Kyai Guntur Sari, in the Great Mosque complex. When the first sound of the gamelan is heard, the community immediately scrambles for the coconut leaves that adorn the ward where the gamelan is kept and chew betel nuts.
“Eating betel can help you stay young and is for longevity. It must be done when the gamelan is beaten first. That’s a blessing from the palace,” said Parwanti, 65, a resident.
The culmination of the Sekaten tradition is a fight over a pair of gunungan that are paraded from the palace to the Great Mosque on Tuesday. The gunungan estri (female) consists of rengginang crackers and meals of dried sticky rice, while the gunungan jaler (male) is in the form of crops such as fruit, vegetables and potatoes.
Since morning, thousands of residents pack the courtyard of the Great Mosque to witness the Grebeg Maulud. Shortly after the gunungan is prayed for and taken out of the mosque, residents immediately go after it.
However, even after Grebeg Sekaten is finished, the excitement of the Sekaten Market continues. Every night, the people’s market opposite the Great Mosque of Surakarta is always festive. Residents come not only from Surakarta, but also the surrounding cities of Sragen, Karanganyar, Sukoharjo, Klaten, Boyolali and Wonogiri, as well as from other cities such as Semarang, Surabaya, Bandung and Jakarta.
The tomb of Ki Ageng Gribig in Jatinom, near Klaten, Central Java, hosts the biggest rebutan event on Java’s calendar of pilgrimage rituals. Many thousands of visitors converge on the site to snap up apemcakes that are consecrated and scattered into the crowd to be fought over. The rite is called Yaqowiyu, Sebar Apem, or Apeman.
A ritual called sebar apem (Yaqowiyu) was celebrated in Jatinom village, Klaten, Central Java, on Friday.
Held annually during the month of Sapar in the Javanese calendar, this ritual attracts huge crowds including tourists.
Historically, Yaqowiyu is held as part of the anniversary of Javanese Islamic preacher Ki Ageng Gribig’s death. He is also known as Syeh Wasibagno.
Ki Ageng Gribig was said to have brought apem (rice flour cakes) home as a souvenir after a trip to Mecca in 1637. However, he ran out of cakes to give to his neighbors and asked his wife to make them some more.
“Ki Ageng Gribig then asked the people of Jatinom to make apem every Sapar to give to the residents. We preserve this tradition through the Yaqowiyuceremony,” said Jatinom district head Sip Anwar.
He added that Yaqowiyu in itself was part of a prayer chanted by Ki Ageng Gribig when he handed out the cakes: Ya qowiyu Yaa Assis qowina wal muslimin. Yaa qowiyu warsuqna wal muslimin.
On Friday, people could be seen parading gunungan (a mountain-shaped pile) made of around 6 tons of apem from the Jatinom Mosque to Sendang Plampeyan field.
After a prayer was conducted for the gunungan, thousands of cakes were handed out to the thousands of people who had flocked to the field. They believe that the apem they receive will bring them blessings and many kept the cakes in drawers at their stores and warung (stalls) to boost sales. Some farmers even planted the apem on their land as fertilizer to ensure a good harvest.
“Others believe apem will keep them safe, bring them wealth or even a life partner. They usually don’t eat them; they keep them for a year until the next Yaqowiyu celebration,” said Sip.
One of the visitors, Wardoyo who is a 48-year-old farmer from Tawangmangu, said he had been coming from Karanganyar to join the festivity every year.
“I usually dry the apem and turned it into fertilizer,” he added.
Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and Klaten Regent Sri Mulyani were among those handing out apem to the public. This is the second time that Airlangga has attended the event.
“Other than religious values, this tradition also serves as silaturahmi [good relations] among Jatinom residents who live outside the city as they usually come home during Yaqowiyu,” he said.
No fewer than eighteen thousand people have visited the tomb of Eyang Sentono Renggo in the village of Ngujang on the northern edge of Tulungagung, East Java. They have been looking for a supernatural source of wealth.
SAIKI jamane internet. Masyarakat akeh kang gampang percaya pawarta ngono wae tanpa dilelimbang kanthi wening. Kaya kabar kang anjrah ing masyarakat, yaiku kuburan Ngujang dadi papan kanggo golek pasugihan. Kanggo nyatakake, durung suwe iki penulis merlokake wawanrembug karo Pak Ribut Katenan 46 taun, juru kunci kuburan Ngujang. Penulis menyang kuburan liwat dalan kidul. Ora liwat regol utama kang saiki lagi dibangun gapura.
Lagi teka ing kuburan kang mapan ing sakidule treteg Ngujang kasebut, penulis dicedhaki pawongan kang ngaku jenenge Pak Tono. Dheweke takon, apa arep golek pesugihan? Yen iya, dheweke bisa nglantarake marang juru kunci. Ora antara suwe ana simbah kang ngglandhang penulis, diajak ngalor. Dheweke njur kandha, “Ati-ati, wong kuwi calo.”
“O…, ana calone, ta?” batine penulis.
Sawise omong-omongan rada suwe, dheweke jenenge Yateni 70 taun. Warga Ngebrukan desa Srikaton, kecamatan Ngantru, Tulungagung. Pakaryane Mbah Yateni minangka juru pijet. Mbah Yateni ora mulih-mulih saka papan kono. Mulih-mulih, mung ngulihake kayane, ujare. Penulis njur didudohi, juru kuncine kang kagungan warung sakulone regol kuwi. Ya ing warung kasebut kang dadi papan juru kunci aweh andharan lan katrangan apa wae kang dibutuhake tamu. Cethane, ing warung iki dadi papan petunge.
Penulis mlebu warung. Ora let suwe, Pak Ribut metu. Penulis blaka apa kang dadi sedyane. Kapisan penulis takon kaya irah-irahan dhuwur kasebut. Diwangsuli Pak Pak Ribut, ana benere, ana klerune. Awit, wong kang nyekar ing pundhen Eyang Sentono Renggo kasebut, ing masyarakat wis kadhung dicap golek pesugihan. Kamangka durung mesthi. Sejatine tetep gumantung niyat lan tujuan pawongan kang ziaroh. Perlu kawuningan, miturut crita turun-temurun Eyang Sentono Renggo iku isih muride Sunan Kalijaga kang diutus nyebarake agama Islam ing wewengkon brang kidul. Banjur, Eyang Sentono Renggo babat alas ing desa Ngujang. Ujare kandha ing wewengkon Ngujang kene biyen ana pondhoke. Eman, penulis ora nemokake patilasan pondhok. Upamane tilas umpak, utawa pondhasi bangunane. Nanging ya embuh maneh, upama wujude bangunan pondhok kalasemana isih prasaja. Lire kawangun saka gedheg. Tegese dudu bangunan kang permanen. Saengga petilasane wis ora nyisa maneh.
Dene pundhen kang saiki kawangun maesan lan ditembok permanen kasebut, biyene wujude mung punthuk watu, kang dibethek mubeng. Sabanjure ing taun 1951 dibangun dening pengusaha keturunan. Lan taun 1952, digawekake Bale ing sisih wetane. Gunane kanggo leren utawa antri wong kang arep ziaroh utawa nyekar. Lan ing taun 2014 direnovasi dening Pak Ribut Katenan dhewe, tanpa njaluk-njaluk sumbangan liyan. Kejaba yen ana kang niyat nyumbang, kang mangkene iki ora ditampik.
Sasuwene Pak Ribut dadi juru kunci, cinathet ora kurang saka wong 18 ewu tamu resmi kang ziaroh lan ngadani ritual ing Pundhen Ngujang. Iku durung wong nyekar ing sanjabane pundhen lan masyarakat umum kang mung dolan ngenggar-enggar sarira, saperlu wisata ndeleng kethek Ngujang.
Pawarta ing masyarakat, jare bangunan kang kinunci ing area pundhen kuwi ing njero ana sumure. Sok sapaa kang golek pesugihan ing pundhen kuwi, sarampunge nindakake ritual kang diimami juru kunci, banjur diutus nginguk njerone sumur kasebut, Padatan pawongan kasebut bakal meruhi anggota kulawarga kang sambat ngaru-ara ing njero sumur kasebut merga didadekake wadal. Lan sapa kang kuwat, tegese tega sanak kadange didadekake wadal, golek pasugihane bakal kasil. Nanging, sawise penulis dijak mlebu dening juru kunci, pranyata ora ana sumur kang dadi pocapan ing masyarakat kuwi. Kang ana mung wujud maesan minangka tenger pundhen Eyang Sentono Renggo (biyen mung wujud punthuk watu).
“Menawi, sumure niku wujud sumur ghaib? Lire, kang pirsa niku namung tiyang-tiyang ingkang pados sesugihan niku mawon?”
“Yen kuwi aku ora ngerti. Ning nyatane sampeyan weruh dhewe. Wujude ya mung ngene iki?” wangsulane karo nuduhake papan pundhen kang wujud maesan. Pancen ana sumur, ning ya sumur lumrah wae. Papane ing sakulone makame pengusaha minyak Tulungagung.
Pak Ribut malah crita. Kondhange kuburan Ngujang kanggo papan golek pasugihan iki ora diselaki. Akeh pawongan saka njaba kutha keraya-raya mrene saperlu golek pasugihan. Keh-kehe wong kang lagi kagubel masalah ekonomi, keblegong utang, gaweyan sepi, rejeki seret lsp. Ana pawongan saka Kalimantan sing golek pasugihan, kulawargane siap kanggo wadal. Kepara dheweke dhewe uga sanggup dadi wadale. Ana kang saka Banyuwangi, doh kana-doh kene mung kepengin golek thuyul. Dheweke sanggup nuku pirang yuta wae regane. Coba, yen ora wong lagi kalap ora kira nempuh dalan mangkene iki.
Wangsulane Pak Ribut, gek thuyule sapa sing arep didol iki? Kene ora adol thuyul! Padatan Pak Ribut mung ngrenahake, ing kene supaya ziaroh wae. Dene ziaroh kuwi niyate ndongakake para-para kang wis sumare kang wis maringi pepajar marang kita kabeh. Dene mengko anggon kita ngalap berkah antuk syafaat, njur dadi sugih lan kasil, piwelinge ya aja lali sodaqah. Sodaqoh manut nadare dhewe-dhewe. Upamane, yen wis kasil nadare kepengin slametan, saambengan kanthi ingkung pitik ya mangga, nganggo wedhus, ya mangga?”
Apa bener wong kang golek pasugihan ing kene, saben taun kudu slametan ing kuburan Ngujang? Yen lali utawa nglali, bakal disurati kaalamatake menyang kantor desane sing golek kasebut?
Wangsulane, ora! Kuwi isyu. Dimen wong-wong kuwi ora mrene. Buku tamu ing kene iki ora tau metu saka Pundhen kene. Iki sipate rahasia. Sing nyekel aku dhewe. Sejatine slametan ing kene kuwi krana nindakake nadare dhewe-dhewe kae mau. Upama ora sanggup nggawa ambengan saka ngomah, mung setor dhuwit njur dipasrahke kene ya bisa.
Nanging, akeh panemu yen nganti ora nindakake nadare kasebut, ora-orane dheweke bakal dipripeni dhanyangane Ngujang. Yen kuwi, embuh! Merga ngimpi kuwi sing bisa ngrasakake ya awake dhewe-dhewe.
Apa bener kethek ing kene malihane siluman? Pak Ribut kandha yen kethek ing Ngujang iki kethek lumrah wae. Yen kethek siluman ora kira wong awam bisa ndeleng, ndemek, makani, lsp. Mung wae, imbuhe, ketheke ing kene pancen dilindhungi utawa diayomi makhluk alus.
Apa bener cacah utawa populasine kethek Ngujang panggah semono wae? Njur ing dina-dina tinamtu, padatan ora ana kang katon siji-sijia. Diwangsuli Pak Ribut ora bener. Kethek kena iki ya tumangkar, ana kang lair ana kang mati. Ngenani cacahe, durung ana kang nate ngetung, Ing dian-dina tinamtu, kaya ngilang kabeh. Kuwi ora bener. Merga kethek-kethek kuwi kalamangsa saba pinggir kali lan treteg. Mula ing kuburan kene ora ana babar pisan. Ning upama takceluk, saperlu takpakani, kabeh ya padha mara. Dadi dudu kethek siluman kang kalamangsa ngilang saka pandulu kuwi, ora!
Nengah-nengahi penulis sapejagong karo juru kunci, kedhayohan pawongan loro saka Bandung Jawa Barat. Sajak wis semayanan lumantar HP. Nitik kaya wis akrab. Sing penulis rungu, dheweke nginep ing sawijining hotel ing Kediri. Lagi esuk kuwi dheweke tumuju ing kuburan Ngujang, numpak bis. Wong loro kasebut sing praenane saemper warga keturunan Tionghoa katon wis ngomah ing warung kasebut. Ujug-ujug njupuk gedhang lan kacang kang kasumadyakake ing warung kuwi, njur metu dipakanake kethek. Ora let suwe wis bali. Njur mlebu-metu kamar ing warung kuwi kaya wis biyasa. Dene sing sijine sajak wong anyar katon. Dheweke praenane kaya wong Sunda. Wong loro ora bisa basa Jawa. Mula anggone paring pituduh, Pak Ribut nganggo basa Indonesia.
“Di sini terkenal sabagai tempat nyari pesugihan. Pernyataan itu ada benarnya, juga ada salahnya. Sebenarnya disini itu tempat untuk ziaroh, ngalap berkah, melalui tawassul yaitu berusaha mendekatkan diri kepada Allah SWT dengan menggunakan wasilah (perantara). Sesaji itu sebenarnya cuma sarana. Kemudian setelah berdoa disini, sesampai dirumah nanti selama selapan hari anda diharuskan sabar, tawakal, tidak boleh marah, tidak boleh berbuat jahat, selingkuh dan lain-lain seperti menjalani syariat agama. Persoalan anda berhasil jadi sukses atau tidak itu, semata-mata karena Allah SWT. Dari yang datang di sini, perbandingan yang sukses dan yang tidak sukses itu, banyak yang tidak suksesnya. Yang belum sukses mungkin belum jodoh,” jlentrehe.
Sing praenan Sunda nyemak, dene sing kaya warga keturunan. Sajak wis ngerti, apa kang bakal diwedharake Pak Ribut. Menawa wae dheweke wis kasil sugih lan iki mau mung niyat ngeterake kancane kuwi wae.
“Selain itu, setiap malam jumat, harus menyiapkan sesaji, berupa wedang kopi manis, bunga telon ditaruh dalam gelas dikasih air putih, 2 batang rokok, membakar kemenyan atau dupa, dan diterangi lampu. Kalau dulu pakai dian atau cublik, sekarang boleh pakai lilin, atau bola lampu listrik. Mengingat nyari minyak tanah sulit, dan kalau lilin ada resiko kebakaran. Kemudian sesaji tersebut boleh diletakkan di kamar khusus, di tempat terbuka seperti ruang tamu juga tidak apa-apa. Dan kalau nanti anda sukses, jangan lupa nadar saat ritual tersebut harus dipenuhi. Itu saja. Mangkin ada pertanyaan?”
“Belum,” wangsulane kang praen Sunda.Anane durung ana pitakonan, menawa dheweke isih bingung. Utawa yen ora ngerti, upama takona nyang kancane kuwi ya wis ngerti.
“Apa kalau sudah melakukan ritual disini tidak boleh mengerjakan sholat? Boleh. Tetep laksanakan sholat!” Dhawuhe Pak Ribut.
“Juga, apakah kalau sudah melakukan rital disini, kemudian jadi sukses apa uangnya tidak boleh untuk naik haji? Boleh. Tidak apa-apa,” jlentrehe Pak Ribut, maneh.
Krungu andharane Pak Ribut, wong praen Sunda kuwi manthuk-manthuk.
Wektune wis jam 1 kliwat. Penulis enggal nyuwun pamit, merga mburu wektu luhuran. Wong loro kuwi melu metu. Njur istirahat ing emperan pundhen.
Dene sabanjure, penulis ora melu ritual ing njero Pundhen Eyang Sentono Renggo. Merga Pak Ribut dhewe uga isih arep kondur, dhawuhe arep sholat luhur. Kira-kira, acara rituale ya sore-sorean.
Mangkono, wawancarane penulis karo Pak Ribut Katenan, juru kunci kuburan Ngujang. Apa bener kuburan Ngujang kuwi kanggo papan golek pasugihan kang jarene jos-gandhos?! Sumangga, para maos mundhut dudu-tan sowang-wowang, kanthi kamardi-kane penggalih. Penulis ora aweh du-dutan ing bab iki. Awit penulis per-caya, para maos sampun saged milah lan milih, menapa ingkang sae tumrap dhirinipun piyambak. Nuwun. (Oyos)
Preserving local wisdom, including the practice of pilgrimage to the tombs of local saints, may be a way of combating religious extremism.
Indonesia must mainstream local wisdom to tackle intolerance: Expert
Bambang Muryanto The Jakarta Post May 9, 2017
The Indonesian government needs to equip its development policies with a cultural strategy, which can mainstream local wisdom that is rich with the spirit of tolerance, to prevent the rapidly growing intolerance movements, an expert has said.
“All this time, the government has never had a cultural strategy, which aims to make its people ready to face changes in the society, which is getting more plural,” said AWC director Ahmad Suaedy.
He was speaking during a discussion held by the Institute of Southeast Asian Islam (ISAIs) at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta on Sunday.
In the discussion, Suaedy explained AWC research results, which were published as a book entitled, Intolerance, Tradition Revitalization and Challenges of Indonesian Diversity.
The book gives samples of local traditions, which uphold tolerance, from several areas across Indonesia. They include local communities in Depok sub-district, Depok City, West Java, the Dayak tribe who still practice their native religion called Kaharingan in Sampit, Central Kalimantan, local residents of Kahuripan village in Kebumen regency, Central Java, and many more.
Suaedy said if traditional values that are rich with tolerance are not strengthened and protected by the government through cultural strategy, these values would disappear.
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance (ANBTI) Yogyakarta coordinator Agnes Dwi Rusjiati criticized the government’s unbalanced approach in preserving cultural traditions.
“This preservation has greatly benefited cultural traditions in society for economic purposes, such as tourism; however, other important traditions, such as native religions, have been abolished,” she said.
Before losing Jakarta’s 2017 gubernatorial election and being jailed for blasphemy, the former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) declared the holy tomb of Mbah Priok an international centre of religious pilgrimage. (On Mbah Priok’s tomb see Bandit Saints of Java chapter 6.)
Ahok inaugurates Mbah Priok memorial site
The Jakarta Post, March 5, 2017
Jakarta adds another site to its long list of cultural heritage sites across the city as Mbah Priok memorial site in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, was inaugurated as a cultural heritage site by the city’s governor on Saturday.
The memorial site once held the grave of Islamic figure Mbah Priok who was venerated for his efforts to disseminate the religion of Islam during Dutch rule. Several disputes happened in the past between the heirs of Mbah Priok and state port operator Pelindo II when the operators intended to demolish the site for the expansion of Tanjung Priok port.
Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama signed an inscription, which read that Mbak Priok memorial site would be protected and treated as a cultural heritage site. Ahok added that the administration would turn the site into a religious attraction.
“According to the Islamic leaders here, up to 15,000 pilgrims visit the site every week. That indicates huge potential for tourism,” Ahok said.
The administration plans to build supporting facilities, such as a cafeteria and mosque. However, the plan was still in the early discussion phase and would need further preparation from the administration.
The inauguration took place just several days before Ahok was scheduled to take another campaign leave ahead of the second round of the city’s gubernatorial election. However, Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) has yet to announce the exact date of the campaign period. Previous reports stated it would start on March 7.