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Boyolali villagers celebrate Idul Fitri with cows in tow

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Boyolali, Central Java  /  Tue, June 18, 2019  /  03:35 pm
Boyolali villagers celebrate Idul Fitri with cows in tow

Villagers proudly parade their cows on June 12 along the main street of Mlambong in Boyolali, Central Java. The village holds a unique post-Idul Fitri celebration called Bakdo Sapi. (TJP/Stefanus Ajie)

Several days after Idul Fitri, the residents of Mlambong village in Boyolali, Central Java, were still celebrating the holy day eating ketupat (rice cakes wrapped in coconut/pandan leaves).

Unlike most Indonesians, the people of Mlambong hold a post-holiday event called Bakdo Sapi that involves their cattle – a tradition that is unique to the village.

Read also: Small Muslim community in East Java observes early Idul Fitri

Dozens of Mlambong villagers flocked to the main street with their cows in tow to the celebration on June 12, each villager bearing a tray of ketupat and several side dishes. Then they all sat down together in the street and prayed, after which they shared the dishes they had brought with them.

Local religious figure Zainil Anshori told The Jakarta Post that Bakdo Sapi was full of symbolism.

“For example, the ketupat we eat is a symbol of ngaku lepat, or one’s willingness to accept one's flaws. Once we accept our own flaws, we can live in harmony with others, as symbolized by the feast,” said Zainil.

The cows, on the other hand, were part of the celebration as an expression of the villagers' gratitude toward them. Mlambong, which is located on the slopes of Mount Merbabu, is famous for its dairy products. (dpk/kes)