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Sekaten Ceremony, Pick Your Own Blessing!

4 December 2010 1,249 views No Comment

Sekaten ceremony (derived from Arabic word ‘Syahadatain‘) is an event to remember Prophet Muhammad’s birthday held on the 5th of each month Mulud in Java calendar (Rabiul Awal of the Islamic year) in the plaza north of Yogyakarta (and also in the Surakarta square town simultaneously). This ceremony was once used by Sultan Hamengkubuwana I, founder of Yogyakarta palace to invite public to follow and embrace Islam.

On the first day, the ceremony begins at night with a convoy of ‘abdi dalem’ (palace courtier), together with two sets of Javanese Gamelan named Kyai Nogowilogo and Kyai Gunturmadu. This convoy originated from Ponconiti pavilion towards the Grand Mosque in the north of plazaescorted by soldiers. Kyai Nogowilogo will occupy the north side of the Grand Mosque, while Kyai Gunturmadu will be on the south side of the mosque. Both sets of the gamelan will be played simultaneously for 7 consecutive days. On the last night, the two gamelan will be brought back into the palace.

Grebeg Muludan

The top event of Sekaten ceremony is called ‘Grebeg Muludan’ which is held on date 12 (just in the birthday of Prophet Muhammad -peace be upon him-) started at 8:00 in the morning. Escorted by 10 kinds of palacae soldier: Wirobrojo, Daeng, Patangpuluh, Jogokaryo, Prawirotomo, Nyutro, Ketanggung, Mantrijero, Surokarso, and Bugis, a mountain-like shaped called Gunungan made of glutinous rice, food , fruits and vegetables will be brought from the palace to the Grand Mosque. After some prayings, the Gunungan which symbolizes prosperity of Mataram kingdom is distributed to people who think that pieces of it will bring blessings to them. These pieces will be taken home and planted in the rice / paddy fields to make it fertile and free from all kinds of disasters and calamities.

Tumplak Wajik

Two days before Grebeg Muludan, a ceremony called Tumplak Wajik was held on the courtyard of Magangan palace at 04:00 pm. The ceremony is a game song using mortars for pounding rice, and the likes which marks the beginning of Gunungan creation that will be paraded at the Grebeg Muludan later. The songs played in this event are popular Javanese song like: Lompong Keli, Tundhung Satan, Owal awil, or other folk songs.

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