The Yogyakarta sultanate has retained its Mataram dynasty tradition despite a prolonged internal conflict over succession. The conflict has not disrupted sultanate traditions, including one of the most important events, the anniversary of Hamengkubuwono X’s coronation at the end of April.
The peak of the coronation event was the Labuhan (ritual offerings to the gods and goddesses) at Parang Kusumo Beach (Bantul regency, Yogyakarta), Mount Lawu (on the border of Karanganyar regency in Central Java and Ngawi and Magetan regencies in East Java) and Mount Merapi (on the borders of Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, and Magelang, Boyolali and Klaten regencies in Central Java).
Thousands of people took part in the ceremonies at the three places, deemed sacred by many Javanese.
During the Labuhan ceremony, people made offerings -- such as clothes and food - –at the three sacred places as a gesture of gratefulness to God for His blessings as well to ask for prosperity and the safety for the Yogyakarta sultanate. At Parang Kusumo Beach, the nails and hair of the sultan were also used as offerings. They symbolize the harmony of the universe.
The offerings ceremony was proceeded with the Ngebluk Jladren ceremony, in which royal servants prepared dough to make apem (Javanese pancake), made with flour, coconut milk and palm sugar. These items were kept in a hereditary jar for one night.
The next morning, the royal family and the royal servants started the Ngapem ceremony with the making of different types of apem. One of them was apem mustaka (literally head apem), which was prayed over.
A day later, during the coronation ceremony at the Bangsal Kencana (Royal Hall), the sultan prayed for the well-being of Indonesia and the sultanate and gave apem to the attendants.
The next day, all the Labuhan offerings were taken from the palace to the three sacred places. The offerings were thrown into the Indian Ocean from Parang Kusumo Beach on the same day, while offerings were made on Mount Lawu and Mount Merapi the next day.
The tradition is centuries old and people remain enthusiastic to participate, as can be seen at Parang Kusumo Beach, where people try to grab any offerings within reach. Their gesture shows that they will keep the tradition alive.[yan]