Wandering Around My Town With Ruthie

Hello ladies and gentleman, I’m back. The scent of my depression are a bit left. Now I’m back…. fresh and happier. Thanks to all of you people who posted those cute amazing photos and vids of those wonderful animals on cuteoverload.com. Animals are great, aren’t they? They made me laugh and I became a little smiler for the rest of the day..

I just got back from one of Jogjakarta’s town square. I took one of my boss’ friend named Ruthie with motorbike. She just drop by to Tembi this afternoon after had vacation in Bali. She works in Yuendumu desert  as counselor in Australian Aboriginal Youth Center. And I took her wandering around with motorbike to show her a bit part of my town at night time.  The town was crowded.. it’s Saturday night, the weather’s  cool and nice, and in the center of town Sultan’s and the entire people are having the Sekaten Celebration. What is Sekaten?

The word Sekaten derives from several versions. Some say Sekaten comes from the word “sekati” that is the name of two sets of the sacred gamelan instruments which is known as Kanjeng Kyai Sekati. These instruments are played in the commemorate the birth of prophet Muhammad. Some others believe that sekaten derives from syahadataini, a profession of faith saying that there is no god other than Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.

Sekaten festival dates back to the year 1939 Saka on the Javanese calendar, or 1477, when Raden Patah of Demak Bintoro founded the Grand Mosque of Demak, with the support of the wali (propagators of Islam on Java island).

The festival was also the result of discussions with the wali, who said a special event should be held for seven consecutive days ahead of the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth, with the main purpose to spread Islam.

Sekaten was first held at a field near the mosque. In order to draw people’s attention to the event, one of the wali, Sunan Giri, created gamelan, traditional musical instruments to be played near the mosque compound.

With the instruments, Javanese traditional music compositions, known as gending, composed by Sunan Kalijaga were sung and played. The two gamelan are played simultaneously for seven long days and they are finally returned at Keraton. Nowadays many people still believe that hearing the gamelan will bring them good luck and health. Anyway, by the end of the event back then, people who had expressed a desire to convert to Islam were assisted by the wali in saying the syahadatain, which is a profession of faith saying that there is no God other than Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Sekaten turned into a traditional folk celebration that was held annually, and later became an official tradition of Demak, especially after it became an Islamic kingdom.

The tradition continued even after the kingdom developed into a powerful Mataram kingdom and was split into the separate kingdoms of Surakarta and Yogyakarta. Both Surakarta and Yogyakarta palaces preserved Sekaten celebration as a part of their cultural and religious heritage. This explains why sekaten held each year in these two cities.

Anyway, after passed by the Sekaten crowds I drove her to the other town square. People called it alun-alun kidul, or Alkid. We stopped by and sat on the grass. We started to watch people tried their lucky by walking blindfolded ahead, passing through the two big sacred trees which grow in the middle of this town square. Here, people  have a sort of belief that if somebody could walked passed through between these two big trees then his/her wish will come true. Seems really easy to walk ahead blind folded passing through these two trees. But in fact, lots of people tonight missed it and went the wrong direction.

It’s really fun to watch them walking around trying their luck. All those people sat  in the grass, young couples enjoying their time together, watching other people riding bicycles and becak. Then we sat on the side walks, on mattress, drank tea and talk. This is what so special about my town, which can never be found anywhere I guess. This town has a kind of deep awesome soul and culture. People were nice and seem happy.

Well yes, I guess whoever were there all happy 🙂

Good night..


2 thoughts on “Wandering Around My Town With Ruthie

  1. Bakti,

    Some words from a favourite song about sleeplessness, for you, in return for your kindnesses!!

    Make a morning pledge
    To the hum of the city quiet
    And pray daybreak’s sun
    Will fill up the holes of a sleepless night
    Bring one good face into this house today
    Hourly, daily

    xx Ruthie

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