Sekaten is old tradition performed every year in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Exactly in Maulud month according to Javanese Calendar. Maulud month is Rabi’ulawal month in Islamic Calendar. Sekaten is activity of economic, religious and culture. Sekaten is a fair on square of Sultan Palace of Yogyakarta.
From economic view, Sekaten is carnival. Party of Yogyakarta people. There are business activities that called Pasar Malam (fair). On the square that called Alun-alun Utara, many traders offering their goods. The visitors come from all region of Yogyakarta, even from out Jogja.
pasar malam Sekaten (Sekaten Fair)
Not only contains economic aspect, Sekaten also contains religious and culture aspect. Sekaten is from word ‘syahadatain’, a Muslim’s vow to confess that Allah is only God and Muhammad is His Messenger. Actually Sekaten is a celebration of birth of Prophet Muhammad.
On the Sekaten ceremony, 2 sets of gamelans are gone out from Sultan’s Palace and put in yard of Big Mosque of Kauman. Gamelan is a group of traditional musical instruments. The Gamelans will be played continuously every evening for 7 days. Originally, at past time, playing gamelan was only to allure people in order come to the mosque to listen the sermon. Shopping in sekaten while listening to gamelan, Javanese atmosphere felt at all.
The climax of Sekaten tradition is Grebeg Maulud, it’s a program that gunungans out from Sultan’s Palace. Gunungan (rice mountain) is made from rice, vegetables, peanut, eggs, and red pepper. Gunungan is presentation from King of Yogyakarta to his people. It symbolizes prosperity and wealth of Mataram Kingdom (now kingdom of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat).
The traders of endog abang (red egg), a special food in sekaten fair
There are some gunungans taken out from Palace to Big Mosque of Kauman. After prayed in the mosque, the gunungans are snatched away by people has waited for it. Some people believe if can get a part of gunungan they will get blessing. No matter if it’s just a little.
(Images from Google)