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Tengger tribe conducts holy water ritual in Wendit Spring

Aman Rochman

The Jakarta Post

Malang, East Java  /  Sun, May 5, 2019  /  04:05 pm
  • The participants and locals take the water to wash their faces and hands.

    The participants and locals take the water to wash their faces and hands. OF JP/Aman Rochman

    The participants and locals take the water to wash their faces and hands.

  • Dance performances enliven the ceremony.

    Dance performances enliven the ceremony. OF JP/Aman Rochman

    Dance performances enliven the ceremony.

  • The offerings are paraded by the participants.

    The offerings are paraded by the participants. OF JP/Aman Rochman

    The offerings are paraded by the participants.

  • Visitors scramble to get some of the offerings to take home

    Visitors scramble to get some of the offerings to take home OF JP/Aman Rochman

    Visitors scramble to get some of the offerings to take home

  • A shaman leads the prayers during the ritual.

    A shaman leads the prayers during the ritual. OF JP/Aman Rochman

    A shaman leads the prayers during the ritual.

  • Shamans and village heads join the performers who are entertaining the crowd.

    Shamans and village heads join the performers who are entertaining the crowd. OF JP/Aman Rochman

    Shamans and village heads join the performers who are entertaining the crowd.

OF

A unique ceremony recently took place in the Wendit Spring in Mangliawan village, Malang, East Java.

The annual Grebek Tengger Tirto Aji ceremony was conducted on Sunday by the people of the Tengger tribe who live in Malang's villages of Ngadas, Poncokusumo and Gubuk Klakah.

The ritual is regularly performed on the ninth month of the Tengger calendar, which usually corresponds with April.

“The ritual is a form of [expression of] gratitude for the prosperity, health and peace that God had given us," said Tareman, a shaman of Ngadas village.

The ceremony kicked off with a parade of offerings consisting of fruit and vegetables harvested from local farms, as well as yellow rice and other traditional dishes that are shaped into giant cones and decorated. The offerings were paraded to the pendhapa, a pavilion built on columns. The offerings were then blessed by the village shamans.

Afterwards, local authorities such as district heads and Malang's acting regent, Sanusi, started the ritual of extracting water from the spring. The locals later took turns filling water bottles. Meanwhile, the participants used the water to wash their faces and hands. 

Read also: Tengger people pray for peaceful election during Melasti ceremony

Mujianto, the head of Ngadas village, said the annual ritual had been conducted since 1774. In 2016, it has been included in Malang administration’s annual agenda.

“The water in Wendit Spring is believed to be holy water flowing from the Widodaren Cave in Mount Bromo. The water is usually used as an element in traditional Tengger rituals,” Mujianto said.

At the end of the ritual, the locals fought to get some of the offerings to take home. Usually they take the yellow rice to eat at home and to give to their chickens and ducks at their farms.

Locals also take the holy water to be mixed with their house's water supply. They believe it will bring health, prosperity and abundance of crops.

The ceremony brought together three major religions in Tengger: Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The participants prayed together for the offerings according to their respective religions.

The ceremony also reminded the locals to always protect nature.

“The shamans always reminded the locals to only take as much of the water as needed, as well as always to preserve the environment, especially the forest, to keep the water supply safe for the next generation,” Mujianto said. (gis/kes)

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