The Yogyakarta kingdom has been celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday every year by holding Sekaten (a week-long Javanese traditional ceremony) and Grebeg (the main event where the public storms the gunungan, or mound of rice with side dishes).
This year, however, the celebration was much more festive as the birthday coincided with the Dal year – which occurs every eighth year – from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1.
There were some ceremonies that only happen during the Dal year, making the celebration even more special. One of the highlights of the special celebration was the march of eight gunungan to Kauman Grand Mosque, the Kepatihan court and Pakualaman court.
Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X presided over the whole procession starting on Thursday at 8 p.m.. He spread rice, rose petals and coins at the southern part of the palace and then at the north. The sultan then pressed his feet to the wall next to the mosque before returning to the palace.
The ceremony was ended with the Kondur Gangsa event, which was the return of the Kiai Gunturmadu and Kanjeng Kiai Nagawilaga gamelan from the mosque to the palace.
The next day, the procession was presided over by palace troops heading to the mosque to pray for the people’s safety, symbolized by the gunungan, which also concluded the week-long event.[yan]