The Jakarta Post
Senden village on the foothills of Mount Merbabu in Boyolali, Central Java, hosted a tobacco harvest festival from July 28 to Aug. 4.
The Tungguk Tembakau Festival, in which tungguk tembakau literally means tobacco picking, featured various activities, including a parade and traditional performances.
The main event was held last Thursday. The night before, the residents prepared mountain-shaped offerings comprising crops and tobacco leaves. Called gunungan, the offerings were blessed by the village elders and kept in Gunung Sari cemetery, a sacred place for locals where village ancestors are buried.
In the morning, hundreds of villagers gathered around Gunung Sari cemetery. Each hamlet had prepared tumpeng (yellow rice cones) that symbolizes their gratefulness for this year’s harvest.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo also participated in the event. He sliced the tumpeng to start the beginning of the ritual, which was followed by tobacco picking, marking the beginning of the harvest season in Senden village.
During the occasion, Ganjar promised to fight for tobacco prices to improve the farmer’s economy.
He mentioned that domestic demand for tobacco was relatively high, adding that one should prioritize locally grown tobacco over imports.
After the ritual, the event continued with a gunungan parade, in which villagers carried the offerings to Senden village.
The tumpeng was distributed among local residents. Meanwhile, the two main gunungan decorations were contested by visitors. The villagers believed that part of the decoration would bring fortune for their daily life and for farming in the upcoming year.
Festival initiator Dwi Kristanto said the festival used to be celebrated separately by each individual hamlet instead of collectively. However, they decided to turn the occasion into a festival, hoping it would promote Senden village as a tourist village.
The parade was followed by various performances, including the Jathilan and mask dance, as well as the Panen Jazz Festival (Harvest Jazz Festival). (jes/kes)