The Jakarta Post
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.
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)