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Jepitu farmers, fishermen hold thanksgiving ritual for good harvest

Stefanus Ajie
Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Sun, March 18, 2018 | 12:03 pm
  • Two fishermen fish using a net at the as part of the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ritual on Jungwok Beach.

    Two fishermen fish using a net at the as part of the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ritual on Jungwok Beach. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Two fishermen fish using a net at the as part of the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ritual on Jungwok Beach.

  • Villagers form a procession during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' ceremony to the accompaniment of 'bende' and 'kendang'.

    Villagers form a procession during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' ceremony to the accompaniment of 'bende' and 'kendang'. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Villagers form a procession during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' ceremony to the accompaniment of 'bende' and 'kendang'.

  • The village procession makes its way from Jungwok Beach to Wediombo Beach during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving cermony in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta.

    The village procession makes its way from Jungwok Beach to Wediombo Beach during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving cermony in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    The village procession makes its way from Jungwok Beach to Wediombo Beach during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving cermony in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta.

  • Jepitu villagers carry a variety of dishes wrapped in palm leaves for a communal feast during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony.

    Jepitu villagers carry a variety of dishes wrapped in palm leaves for a communal feast during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Jepitu villagers carry a variety of dishes wrapped in palm leaves for a communal feast during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony.

  • A group of villagers row out into the shallows to release offerings into the sea during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony.

    A group of villagers row out into the shallows to release offerings into the sea during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    A group of villagers row out into the shallows to release offerings into the sea during the 'Sedekah Laut Ngalangi' thanksgiving ceremony.

OF

The residents of Jepitu village in Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, gathered at Jungwok Beach on Thursday, to perform the Sedekah Laut Ngalangi, a thanksgiving ritual that has been passed down from generation to generation. 

In the Sedekah Laut Ngalangi, the villagers give offerings to show their gratitude for the abundant farm and fish harvest from the rich nature that surrounds them.

The village residents were dressed in lurik, clothing made from a traditional Javanese textile, while several other villagers were dressed in the traditional attire of a warrior of the Mataram Kingdom, complete with swords and spears.

The villagers also brought home-cooked food made from their crop and fish harvests, which included fare such as steamed rice with ayam ingkung, a local chicken dish, marinated  sweet tofu and tempeh, grilled fish, and the mandatory coconut sambal, or chili paste.

The dishes are placed in containers made of wood and bamboo and carefully wrapped in palm leaves, which are then carried by men and women in a ritual procession.

Read also: Poverty rate in Gunungkidul decreases as tourism rises

The ceremony began with a village procession while two fishermen caught fresh fish with a net on Jungwok Beach. The traditional sounds of the bende and kendang musical instruments enlivened the procession, which moved across the white sandy beach to the hills, and through farms to arrive at Wediombo Beach.

The procession ended in a sacred spot on Wediombo Beach, where the villagers sat to feast with Jepitu village officials and Gunungkidul's community leaders.

A mass prayer marked the beginning of the feast, followed by the thanksgiving ritual of releasing the offerings into the ocean. The animated feast included a performance of the traditional Gunungkidul dance called Reog Dhodog.

Thanksgiving rituals are an essential part of life in Gunungkidul. The residents perform the rituals to remind themselves of their connection to nature. A number of villages in the region also use the ceremonies to attract visitors and tourists. (mut)

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