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‘Mitoni’: Javanese baby shower teeming with symbolism

Bambang Muryanto

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Mon, July 15, 2019  /  05:13 pm
‘Mitoni’: Javanese baby shower teeming with symbolism

Blessed water: R. Ay Nusye Retnowati (left) pours water over her daughter-in-law, GKR Hayu, while GKR Hemas (right) looks on. 'Siraman' (shower) is an important part of the 'mitoni' ritual. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

GKR Hayu, the fourth daughter of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, changed her wraparound cloth seven times in a mitoni ceremony (Javanese baby shower) at Kraton Kilen of the Yogyakarta Palace on June 18. From the first to the sixth batik cloth, her eldest sister, crown princess GKR Mangkubumi, asked the audience, “Is it already appropriate?” “Not yet!” the crowd answered. Only after she had put on the seventh cloth with a striped pattern – symbolizing the vertical relationship between humans and the Creator as well as the horizontal ties among fellow humans – did the audience shout, “It’s appropriate!” The procession, called pantes-pantes (propriety), is part of the two-hour mitoni ceremony Javanese moms-to-be go through as they reach the seventh month of their first pregnancy. The ceremony comprises of 19 stages ending in a ...