Culture & Social

Mangkunegara Palace celebrates Javanese New Year with Surakartans

A number of abdi dalem (royal servants) carried four heirlooms from the pendapa (hall) of Mangkunegara Palace in Surakarta, Central Java, on Monday evening. The royal family, household and more servants followed in the procession.

The four heirlooms included three spears and a joli (small house replica) containing a kris and armor inherited from Prince Sambernyawa (Mangkunegara I), the founder of Mangkunegara Palace.

Decorated with jasmine flowers, the heirlooms were carried on a parade around the walls of the palace. The parade was inaugurated by Sri Paduka Mangkunagoro IX and his son, GPH Bhre Cakrahutama Wira Sudjiwo who leads the procession. Many residents of Surakarta joined the parade, walking 3 kilometers.

The barefoot procession moved quietly, without anyone saying a word.

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Condro Kirono, Diponegoro Military Command head Maj. Gen. Wuryanto and former TNI commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo were also seen in the parade.

“This is called the tradition of tapa bisu (walking without saying a word). In silence, people can listen to other voices. That is the meaning,” said Joko Pramudyo, who is charge of public relations at Mangkunegara Palace.

The Mangkunegara Palace heirloom parade is a tradition that welcomes the first day of Sura, the first month of the Javanese calendar, which falls on the same day as Islamic New Year, the first day of the month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.

Aside from the parade and the tapa bisu, the palace also conducts the jamasan (washing) ritual for the heirlooms, which is performed after the parade.

The culmination of the ritual usually sees Surakarta residents rush to collect flower-infused water dripping from the washing ritual. They carry mineral water bottles to collect the sacred water.

Following the washing ritual, Mangkunegara IX gives away udik-udik (coins, flowers and rice) for the people to grab. This gesture symbolizes the palace sharing prosperity. Most people are still convinced that if they get the water and giveaways, they will be blessed.

“I took part in ngalap berkah (looking for blessing), hoping to live in abundance in the coming year,” said Paryanti, 49, a resident of the Pasar Kliwon area.

Sugito, 64, from Karanganyar regency did the same. He said he came to the Mangkunegara Palace on the eve of the first day of Sura every year to seek blessing. Sugito believes that udik-udik and the jamasan water can increase his harvest if planted in his vegetable plantation.

“I come with my child, wife and neighbor. It is a tradition we maintain,” he said.

The Jakarta Post


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