The Uniqueness of Indonesian Indigenous Ceremonies

27 Sep The Uniqueness of Indonesian Indigenous Ceremonies


This ceremony marks the advent of the Ramadhan fasting month. But because of being held only by the people of Semarang, the Dugderan ceremony is considered to be some sort of traditional ceremony. The word dugderan itself is a combination of the sounds of pounding drums and bamboo canons which symbolize the fasting month. This ritual is held right on the day before the first day of fasting, from morning to late afternoon until sunset. In this Indonesian traditional ceremony, the society holds the warak ngendok, in which they parade a fake animal having the body of a goat, the head of a dragon and golden scales. This crafted animal is made of colorful papers. Other than this ritual, there are also other events such as the people’s market, drum band shows, a fashion show of traditional clothes to various cultural attraction unique in Semarang City which are held one week prior to the ceremony.


On the 14th night of the month of Kasada, Tengger people of Hindu faith (Mahayana Buddhism according to Parisada Hinduism of East Java) collectively head towards the peak of Mount Bromo by bringing ongkek containing offerings of various crops, farm animals and so forth; and they throw them to the crater of Mount Bromo as offerings to the God of Bromo which is believed to reside in Mount Bromo. This offering ceremony is to beg so that the people of Tengger are blessed and saved by the Almighty.


Sekaten is a royal ceremony held for seven days. Reputedly, its origin is traced to the Kingdom of Demak. This ritual is actually a celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birth. According to the people’s legends, the word Sekaten originates from an Islamic creed: Syahadatain. Sekaten starts out by parading two sets of Gamelan Sekati, the Kyai Gunturmadu and the Kyai Guntursair, from the keratin (royal palace) to be placed in front of the Grand Mosque of Surakarta. For six days starting from the sixth to the eleventh day in the Mulud month of othe Javanese calendar, both gamelan sets are played to mark the Sekaten ceremony. The ritual is finally closed on the seventh day by bringing out the Gunungan Mulud. Now other than such traditional ceremony, a night market is also held starting one month ahead of the real Sekaten.


This activity is a Balinese Hindu ceremony in which a body is cremated. To perform such ceremony, the family of the deceased person will make the “bade dan lembu” as a vessel to transport the body. The vessel is made of wood and its model is very grand. The local people will also help out. Then, the body is paraded and lastly cremated with the vessel in the religious ritual. The body is laid down and the family left behind will always remember the body as it is (laid down). There are no tears because the body is temporarily absent and it will reincarnate or find its final resting place in Moksha (free of death and reincarnation).

Lompat Batu

Lompat batu (hombo batu) is a very popular tradition for the people of Nias the district of Nias Selatan. This tradition has been going on since the olden days and it is passed down by the people in the village of Bawo Mataluo (Sun Hill). The tradition of lompat batu (rock jumping) started out during the days of their ancestors when they used to have wars and trained themselves to become strong and to be able to penetrate the enemy’s fortresses which were quite high to jump on.

As time goes by, the function of this tradition changes because they don’t have wars anymore nowadays. So, this tradition has changed into a ritual and cultural symbol of the Nias people. This tradition is a cultural ritual to determine whether a young man of the Bawo Mataluo village can be regarded as an adult or not. The youngsters will be considered to be brave if they can jump on and surpass the pile of stone made to be more than 2 meters high.