Thousands of people both young and old flocked to Ki Ageng Gribig Cemetery Complex in Jatinom, Klaten, Central Java, last Friday.
They were attending the Sebar Apem Yaaqowiyyu event. Even the scorching hot sun could not deter the attendees from participating.
The highlight of the event had the participants competing against one another to get as many apem (traditional rice pancake) as they could.
Before competing for the apem, locals participated in a religious sermon hosted by clerics in the morning.
After the sermon, they took part in Friday prayers at the Ki Ageng Gribig mosque. Following this, mosque officials carried two large piles of apem for distribution, along with around five tons of the pancakes that were already placed in the cemetery complex.
Once the apem arrived, local clerics led the locals in a short prayer and then started distributing the
One by one, organizers threw apem to the participants. Some of them used their bare hands to catch the apem and some others used nets, modified umbrellas and even sarongs.
Many of the participants believe apem symbolize luck and welfare, while a few only wanted to eat them.
It is not unusual to see light pushing and shoving during the event, yet it never escalates into a riot.
Instead, the physical contact often adds to the jovial, entertaining vibe permeating the event.
Sebar Apem Yaaqowiyyu comes from ancient local folklore about Ki Ageng Gribig.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, Ki Ageng Gribig returned to Jatinom and took with him three apem for his family after his pilgrimage in Mecca.
However, three apem were not enough, so Ki Ageng Gribig made more of the pancakes so that each member of his family could receive the same amount.