The Jakarta Post
Thousands of people across the country, from Surakarta to Gorontalo, commemorated the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, or Maulid Nabi, with a variety of rituals and activities.
Residents of Surakarta, or Solo as it is otherwise known, observed Maulid Nabi with Grebeg Maulud, a centuries-old tradition of the Surakarta Kasunanan sultanate. The tradition also marks the end of the month-long Sekaten Festival held at Surakarta Palace Square.
Thousands of people swarmed the Surakarta Palace Grand Mosque waiting for the gunungan (cone-shaped mounds of food and agricultural produce) to be blessed and then distributed. The Surakarta Palace had prepared a pair of jaler (male) and estri (female) mounds and two other smaller mounds as in previous years.
Surakarta Palace Museum and Tourism head Prince Kanjeng Satryo Hadinagoro said the gunungan procession marked the peak of the Maulid Nabi event.
'Previously, during the Grebeg Maulud event, the palace supplied nine pairs of gunungan and every one got a chance to get an offering,' said Satryo.
But with the passage of time and increasing public enthusiasm to attend the procession, the gunungan is paraded only as a cultural symbol. Despite that, Satryo said it did not detract from the sacredness of the annual event.
The ceremony began at 10 a.m. and was marked with the offerings being paraded from the Surakarta Palace to the Surakarta Palace Grand Mosque to be blessed. The procession involved hundreds of Surakarta Palace guards.
After being blessed, the two pairs of gunungan were taken back to the palace to be distributed among residents. However, as in previous years, people started grabbing for the gunungan mounds before they reached the palace courtyard.
The ceremony was attended by thousands of residents from Surakarta and surrounding areas. They also arrived to attend the final day of the Sekaten Festival.
Separately in Gorontalo, thousands of residents from Gorontalo city jostled to get to walimah snacks on dozens of pickup trucks during the Maulid Nabi celebration on Tuesday. Walimah are snacks eaten in Gorontalo on Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
According to plan, the walimah snacks, transported by the pickup trucks from Baiturahim Mosque in Gorontalo city, were distributed at Taruna Remaja Square in Gorontalo city. Many residents arrived at 6 a.m. to get a chance to get some snacks, which are believed to bring good fortune.
A middle-aged woman was almost dragged along behind a pickup when she attempted to take some of the snacks from the moving vehicle. Hundreds of people jostled to get on the pickups and struggled to get a variety of snacks wrapped in plastic, while others picked up snacks strewn on the road. No casualties were reported in the incident.
Nethy of the Bugis district, Gorontalo city, said she was enthusiastic to join the annual celebration.
The housewife believed the blessed walimah snacks would bring her good fortune.