10 Famous East Java Traditional Ceremonies

East Java, one of the provinces in Indonesia that has a variety of abundant cultural wealth. Various ethnic groups and ethnic groups also inhabit this region with various colors and their own uniqueness.

In this article, we will briefly review the traditional ceremonies of East Java which certainly have interesting uniqueness and characteristics. Although some have been influenced by various cultures from outside, the traditional ceremonies of East Java still have a distinctive character and are worth exploring.

Here are 10 East Java traditional ceremonies that we have successfully summarized from various reliable sources.

Death Statement

As is well known, Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Indonesia. So it’s not surprising that there are various cultures in Indonesia that are influenced by Islamic nuances.

One of them is the Tahlilan tradition. In Islamic teachings, tahlil is the reading of the sentence of monotheism, namely la ilaaha illallah which means “there is no god but Allah”. Apart from being a creed sentence, this sentence is also a recitation of remembrance that is prescribed and has great value and is the most important.

In Nusantara culture, especially East Javanese culture, the phrase tahlil is commonly used in one of the Tahlilan cultural processions as remembrance readings to pray for people who have died.

Tahlilan itself is a ritual to pray for people who have died by reading the Koran together, dhikr together, and reading certain prayers, which are held by the bereaved family.

The Tahlilan event is usually attended by neighbors, relatives, and extended family. This tradition will be held as a commemoration on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 40th, 100th, 1st year, and 3 years after the day of death of the person who died.

In its history, this tradition was first introduced by Walisongo in the context of the spread of Islam in his day. This tradition is a blend of Islamic culture with Hindu culture where in the past there was cultural acculturation among the Javanese people.

Before Walisongo’s arrival in the archipelago, most of the Javanese people at that time adhered to Hinduism because of the influence of the Hindu kingdoms that controlled the island of Java. In Hinduism, there are rituals of respect for those who died on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, and so on.

Meanwhile, Walisongo spread Islam in Java in a slow way because the Javanese at that time were considered to be conservative towards new things. Therefore, so that Islamic da’wah can be accepted by the community, Walisongo inserts Islamic values in this ritual by filling it with prayers prescribed by Islam.

Until now, this culture is still commonly practiced in the Islamic community of the island of Java. Although not all Javanese Muslim communities do it because it is considered not part of Islamic law.

Bromo Kasada Ceremony

The Yadnya Kasada or Kasodo ceremony is a traditional tradition that is routinely carried out by the Tengger Tribe community who inhabit the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru mountain area, East Java.

Unlike the Hindu community in general, which has a temple as a place of worship, the Tenggerese usually perform Kasada ceremonies at Pura Luhur Poten which is located at the foot of Mount Bromo.

For the Tenggerese, Mount Bromo or Brahma is a sacred mountain. The Kasada ceremony is usually carried out every year from midnight to early morning in Kasodo month (tenth) on the Javanese calendar. Apart from being a tribute to the ancestors, Kasada Ceremony is also performed to appoint a healer or shaman in each village.

A few days before the Kasada Ceremony begins, the community will make offerings containing various kinds of agricultural and livestock products. On the night of the ceremony, they will flock to bring the ongkek containing the offerings to the temple.

Exactly at midnight, the inauguration ceremony of the shaman and the blessing of the people at the temple will take place. After the ceremony is over, the ongkek which contains various offerings will be brought from the foot of the mountain to the top of the mountain.

Arriving at the top, they will throw the offerings into the crater of Mount Bromo as a symbol of the sacrifices made by their ancestors. The sacrifice is also a form of their gratitude to God for the abundant agricultural and livestock products

Ruwatan Ceremony

Ruwatan is one of the traditional ceremonies that has been widely preserved by the Javanese people since ancient times. The word ruwat itself comes from the Javanese language which means “to get rid of bad luck” or “save people from certain disorders”.

The form of the disorder can be a disorder of a condition that is common in a family or in a person. Disorders that must be treated are disturbances in the form of actions that can cause bad luck, harm, or other social impacts.

For the Javanese people, Ruwatan is a form of business that aims so that later after undergoing the ceremony one can obtain blessings in the form of safety, health, peace, peace of mind, welfare, and happiness for oneself in particular and for the family in a wider scope.

At the Pangruwatan Murwakala performance, it is usually done with a puppet show which is responded by a special puppeteer who has the ability in the field of Ruwatan.

In this ritual, a Sukerto boy will have his hair cut. According to Javanese belief, the boy’s misfortune and misfortune are the responsibility of the mastermind because the boy has become his son.

Because the wayang performance is an event that is considered sacred and requires quite a lot of funds, the implementation of Ruwatan with wayang performances today is usually carried out within the scope of the village or hamlet,

Until now, this Ruwatan traditional ceremony is still carried out and is believed by the Javanese as a means of liberation and purification of humans from sins or mistakes that have an impact on bad luck in their lives.

In the wayang story with the play Murwakala at the Ruwatan ceremony in Java, it is said to have developed from an ancient Javanese story whose main content contains the problem of purification, namely the liberation of a god who has been tainted to become holy again.

So in the Javanese belief, people who are in a state of Nandang Sukerto or are in sin or experiencing mental difficulties, it is necessary to hold a Ruwatan to become holy again.

In other words, meruwat is overcoming or avoiding an inner distress by holding a performance or ritual with the shadow puppet media that takes the story of Murwakala.

Keduk Beji Ceremony

The Keduk Beji ceremony is a tradition that is usually held every year in Tawun Village, Kasreman District, Ngawi Regency, East Java. This ceremony is usually held every Kliwon Tuesday according to the Javanese-Islamic calendar.

Said Mbah Wo Supomo as the interpreter of Silep and the elder of Tawun Village, the purpose of this ceremony is to preserve the cultural customs of Tawun Village that have existed since ancient times. The essence of the Keduk Beji ceremony is the insertion and replacement of a jug that is stored in the center of the Beji water source in the cave.

According to belief, the jug in the Beji water source must be replaced every year so that the water source is kept clean.

The Beji water source in the Tawun Tourism Park is a very important water source for the surrounding community. Water from these sources is commonly used for drinking, irrigating rice fields, and the water source for Tawun Park itself. Therefore, it must be kept clean so as not to die.

The Keduk Beji ceremony begins with cleaning the dirt in the Beji water source. All the male residents of Tawun Village will go down to the water source to pick up the garbage and leaves that have accumulated over the past year.

During the cleaning, the men who were in the water source danced and carried out the tradition of hitting each other using twigs to the accompaniment of drumming.

The ceremony continued with a procession of insertion and replacement of the jug in the center of the water source. The person who has the right to dive and replace the jug is from the descendants of Grandmother Ludro Joyo, a village elder who was believed to have disappeared in Beji’s water source while imprisoned.

Then, the ceremony continued with the watering of legendary water into the Beji water source and the crossing of the offerings from the east to the west of the source. The ceremony closed with a slametan and a meal together with the blessings of the gunungan lanang and gunungan wadon which had been prepared for the residents to receive blessings.

Apart from preserving water sources, the Keduk Beji ceremony is also an icon of Ngawi Regency cultural tourism. In fact, every time this ceremony is held, thousands of tourists from various surrounding areas come to visit Tawun Park to witness this ceremony.

Upacara Sandhur

Sandhur or Dhamong Ghardam is a ritual usually performed by people on the plains of Madura, East Java. This ritual is in the form of a dance intended to beg for rain, ensure the well is filled with water, honor sacred graves, remove the dangers of disease, or get rid of calamities and disasters.

The form of this rite is in the form of dance and singing accompanied by music. The movements are nothing more than adjusting the rhythm of the body to the dance movements of the local area. The rhythm of the body appears spontaneously to the rhythm of singing and music.

In the ritual, sometimes some participants fall into a trance so that its implementation requires a handler or shaman as a mediator in dealing and dialogue with creatures from other realms.

One of the places where the Sandhur ceremony is usually held is a crossroads which aims to get rid of negative influences. The ritual will usually be led by a shaman who is in charge of reading prayers in Madurese and Arabic.

Areas that have rituals as well as arts like this almost spread in the eastern part of the Madura plain, such as: Batuputih, Pasongsongan, Guluk-Guluk, Pakondang Village, Daramista Village, to Saronggi, but with different ritual forms.

The Sandhur ceremony is a form of tradition that contains a mix of cultural elements, namely Hindu, Buddhist, Javanese, and Islamic cultures. This can be shown from the sung poems using the ancient Javanese language, Madurese language, to Arabic.

Despite having the same goal, Sandhur and Dhamong Ghardam apparently have differences that lie in the procession of implementation. Sandhur prioritizes elements of art, by combining his expertise in playing music, poetry, and dance movements. Meanwhile, Dhamong Ghardam is more dominant in its ritual processions.

Larung Sembonyo

Larung Sembonyo is a traditional sea alms ceremony that has been carried out from generation to generation since the time of the ancestors by local fishermen from Prigi Beach, Trenggalek, East Java. This tradition is a form of expression of gratitude for the local community for the abundant marine products.

In addition, the Larung Sembonyo ceremony is also a form of request for the safety of the Prigi fishing community when looking for fish in the sea. This habit has been practiced for a long time and has become part of the culture of Trenggalek City, especially the coastal community of Prigi Beach.

It is said that the Larung Sembonyo ceremony was born from a folk tale about a supernatural event when a Tumenggung and his troops carried out tripe pedestals or territorial expansion in the area. The story also gave birth to a myth that developed among the coastal community of Prigi Beach.

According to local people’s beliefs, the Larung Sembonyo ceremony is also a form of respect for the ancestors who have opened the area as a settlement. Tumenggung Yudho Negoro and his four brothers are considered important figures as the first people to clear land in the area.

When this tradition is not implemented, people will feel that something is missing. It is believed that if this traditional ceremony is not carried out, various difficulties will occur, such as: crop failure, difficult fishing, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and various other difficulties.

In 1985, it was reported that the Larung Sembonyo Ceremony was redeveloped and held on a large scale, which had previously been stopped due to unfavorable political conditions. Until now, this tradition has become a routine agenda for Trenggalek residents and is supported by the Trenggalek Regency government as a cultural preservation.

The Larung Sembonyo ceremony is usually held on Monday Kliwon, Selo month, according to the Javanese calendar. This ceremony also has various other terms, such as: Sea Alms, Sembonyo Traditional Ceremony, Mbucal Sembonyo, or Clean the Sea.

Bagong Dam Ceremony

The Dam Bagong ceremony is one of the traditional ceremonies of East Java, especially for the Dam Bagong community, Ngantru Village, Trenggalek Regency. This ceremony is in the form of offering a buffalo head that is thrown into the Bagong Dam dam as a tribute to an ancestor of a farmer hero, Ki Ageng Menak Sopal.

It is said that Ki Ageng Menak Sopal was known as a religious leader who struggled to spread Islam in the Trenggalek area. In addition, he is also considered a farmer hero who has contributed to building a rice field irrigation center and building the Bagong Dam dam.

The implementation of the Bagong Dam ceremony begins with the slaughter of a buffalo. The buffalo meat will later be distributed to the community. Meanwhile, his head will be thrown into the Bagong River. Before being thrown into the dam, the severed head of the buffalo and several other bodies will be paraded around the village to the tomb of Ki Ageng Menak Sopal.

By holding a ceremony like this, the local community hopes that their area will always get peace and tranquility.

Kebo-Keboan Ceremony

Kebo-Keboan is a tradition usually carried out by the Osing Tribe (Using) who inhabit several areas in Banyuwangi Regency, East Java.

The Kebo-Keboan tradition is closely related to the agricultural sector, which is carried out to ask for soil fertility, abundant harvests, and avoid calamities, both befalling plants and humans.

According to a developing story, the Kebo-Keboan tradition began when the Krajan Hamlet area experienced pagebluk, namely the emergence of various pests and diseases that caused the death of agricultural crops.

To overcome the disaster, a community leader named Buyut Karti performed a ritual by imitating the behavior of a buffalo plowing a field.

Apparently, the ritual is considered capable of being a deterrent from the various disasters that befell Krajan Hamlet. From there, the Kebo-Keboan tradition was then held regularly once a year.

The Kebo-Keboan ceremony in Krajan Hamlet is usually held once a year, namely on Sundays between the 1st and 10th of Suro (without looking at the market day).

According to Javanese belief, the month of Suro is considered a sacred month. While Sunday is a day when people are off from work, so they can follow the ceremony.

A week before the Kebo-Keboan ceremony, usually the people of Dusun Krajan will hold a gotong royong activity to clean the house and hamlet environment.

Then the day before the ceremony, the mothers together prepare offerings consisting of: cone, squeezed, water jug, kinang ayu, various jenang, chicken ingkung, and so on. In addition to the salvation event, all the offerings will later be placed at every intersection in the Dusun Krajan road.

The Kebo-Keboan event was opened with a simple ceremony in Petaunan which was attended by the committee, prominent figures, and several residents of Krajan. The opening ceremony is only in the form of greetings, prayers, and continued with a meal together.

Then, the ceremony continued with the ider bumi parade around the Krajan hamlet to the water dam which was attended by the figures, a handler, two pairs of kebo-keboan, the bearers of offerings, and hadrah and barongan music players.

Arriving at the dam, the Jagatirta (water regulator) immediately opened the dam so that the water flowed along the hamlet road which had previously been planted with secondary crops by the youth.

Meanwhile, the participants of the ceremony headed to the rice fields belonging to the residents of Dusun Krajan. In this rice field, kebo-keboan began to show his behavior that resembled a buffalo who was plowing the field and wallowing.

When they wallow, some of the ceremony participants immediately went down to the fields and planted rice seeds. After being planted, the other participants immediately scrambled to take the rice seeds that had just been planted. The seeds are believed to be used as a repellent, bring good luck, and bring blessings.

When the participants fight over the seeds, the boobs who have previously been enchanted so that the trance will immediately chase after the seed takers who are considered a nuisance. However, the kebo-keboan did not harm because it had been conditioned by the handler.

When finished, the kebo-kebos were revived by the handler and returned to Petaunan.

Seblang Ceremony

The Seblang ceremony is a ritual that is usually carried out by the Osing Tribe in Baungan Village and Bysari Village, Glagah District, Banyuwangi. This ritual is carried out for the purpose of cleaning the village and rejecting reinforcements, so that the village environment is safe and peaceful.

The implementation of the Seblang ritual in the two villages has a number of differences. In Bysari Village, this ritual is carried out a week after Eid al-Fitr with female dancers who are still virgins. Meanwhile, in Baungan Village, it is held a week after Eid al-Adha with dancers who have passed menopause.

In this ritual, the dancer will dance for seven days in a row in a state of ancestral spirit possession. The dancers themselves are magically chosen by a gambuh or handler, usually the dancers chosen also come from the descendants of previous Seblang dancers.

This Seblang dance ritual begins with a ceremony opened by the gambuh. The dancer is blindfolded by the women who are behind him, while holding a tempeh (bamboo tray).

The gambuh then fumes the dancer with incense smoke while reciting a spell. After the dancer experienced a trance (possession) which was marked by the fall of the tempeh he was holding, the Seblang dance performance began.

The Seblang dancer who has been cruel then dances with monotonous movements, eyes closed, and follows the direction of the gambuh and the rhythm of the gendhing being played. In fact, the dancer went around the village while dancing.

After a while, the Seblang dancer threw a rolled shawl at the audience. The audience who was hit by the shawl had to be willing to dance with the Seblang. If not, then he will be chased by Seblang until he wants to dance.

Grebeg Suro Ponorogo

Grebeg Suro is an annual cultural tradition event for the people of Ponorogo in the form of a folk party. Various arts and traditions were displayed including the National Reog Festival, Cross-History Pawa and Heritage Carnival, and Larungan Minutes of Prayer at Ngebel Lake.

This event is usually celebrated every year on 1 Muharram or 1 Suro according to the Javanese calendar. This event is the initial activity in welcoming the Year of East Java Tourism Visit every year.

The series of Grebeg Suro events usually begins with a procession of handing over the heirlooms to the tomb of the first regent of Ponorogo. Then followed by a parade of hundreds of people towards the city center on horses and horses that have been decorated.

Next, there is the National Reog Festival at the Ponorogo City square. Dozens of reog groups in East Java, even from Kutai Kartanegara, Central Java, Balikpapan, to Lampung, also performed to enliven the festival.

Historically, the Grebeg Suro Ponorogo event originated from the habit of the people, especially the warok, who every night 1 Suro held an all-night tirakatan by going around the city and stopping at the Ponorogo square.

Until 1987, the then Regent, Soebarkah Poetro Hadiwirjo, saw this phenomenon and gave birth to creative ideas to accommodate their activities with activities that lead to cultural preservation.

Starting from the suspicion that the interest of the youth was fading towards the typical art of Ponorogo, Grebeg Suro Ponorogo was held and included the art of reog in it.

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