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Central Java village celebrates start of tobacco harvest

Stefanus Ajie
Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Boyolali, Central Java | Tue, August 7, 2018 | 04:35 pm
  • The 'gunungan' parade during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival in Senden Village, Boyolali, Central Java.

    The 'gunungan' parade during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival in Senden Village, Boyolali, Central Java. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    The 'gunungan' parade during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival in Senden Village, Boyolali, Central Java.

  • A tobacco plantation in Senden village, Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java.

    A tobacco plantation in Senden village, Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    A tobacco plantation in Senden village, Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java.

  • Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo marked the beginning of the harvest season with a tobacco picking ritual.

    Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo marked the beginning of the harvest season with a tobacco picking ritual. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo marked the beginning of the harvest season with a tobacco picking ritual.

  • Villagers enjoy 'tumpeng' (yellow rice cones) during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

    Villagers enjoy 'tumpeng' (yellow rice cones) during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Villagers enjoy 'tumpeng' (yellow rice cones) during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

  • A mask dance performance during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

    A mask dance performance during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    A mask dance performance during the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

  • Drum Blek music group created instruments with used items. The group was among the performers at the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

    Drum Blek music group created instruments with used items. The group was among the performers at the Tungguk Tembakau Festival. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Drum Blek music group created instruments with used items. The group was among the performers at the Tungguk Tembakau Festival.

  • Village elders prepare 'gunungan' offerings for the Tungguk Tembakau ceremony.

    Village elders prepare 'gunungan' offerings for the Tungguk Tembakau ceremony. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Village elders prepare 'gunungan' offerings for the Tungguk Tembakau ceremony.

  • Residents of Senden village carry 'gunungan' offerings to Gunung Sari cemetery.

    Residents of Senden village carry 'gunungan' offerings to Gunung Sari cemetery. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Residents of Senden village carry 'gunungan' offerings to Gunung Sari cemetery.

OF

Senden village on the foothills of Mount Merbabu in Boyolali, Central Java, hosted a tobacco harvest festival from July 28 to Aug. 4.

The Tungguk Tembakau Festival, in which tungguk tembakau literally means tobacco picking, featured various activities, including a parade and traditional performances.

The main event was held last Thursday. The night before, the residents prepared mountain-shaped offerings comprising crops and tobacco leaves. Called gunungan, the offerings were blessed by the village elders and kept in Gunung Sari cemetery, a sacred place for locals where village ancestors are buried.

In the morning, hundreds of villagers gathered around Gunung Sari cemetery. Each hamlet had prepared tumpeng (yellow rice cones) that symbolizes their gratefulness for this year’s harvest.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo also participated in the event. He sliced the tumpeng to start the beginning of the ritual, which was followed by tobacco picking, marking the beginning of the harvest season in Senden village.

Read also: Tungguk Tembakau a tobacco harvest ritual with prayers

During the occasion, Ganjar promised to fight for tobacco prices to improve the farmer’s economy.

He mentioned that domestic demand for tobacco was relatively high, adding that one should prioritize locally grown tobacco over imports.

After the ritual, the event continued with a gunungan parade, in which villagers carried the offerings to Senden village.

The tumpeng was distributed among local residents. Meanwhile, the two main gunungan decorations were contested by visitors. The villagers believed that part of the decoration would bring fortune for their daily life and for farming in the upcoming year.

Festival initiator Dwi Kristanto said the festival used to be celebrated separately by each individual hamlet instead of collectively. However, they decided to turn the occasion into a festival, hoping it would promote Senden village as a tourist village.

The parade was followed by various performances, including the Jathilan and mask dance, as well as the Panen Jazz Festival (Harvest Jazz Festival). (jes/kes)

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