Rain and cows are valuable items for the residents of Bunder-Jarakan hamlet in Bandungan village, Klaten regency, Central Java.
Giyanto, head of hamlet II Bandungan village, said residents regarded rain as precious as gold, while cows were the symbol of infinite wealth.
Rain is valuable as the dry area, situated on the slope of Mount Merapi, needs rainwater. Meanwhile, cows contribute to the economy and help residents fulfill their daily needs, such as food, school fees and more.
As a symbol of gratitude to God, the residents held a guyang sapi [bathing the cows] ceremony on Saturday, part of the Merti Desa procession.
On the day of the ceremony, the residents sent around hundreds of cows down to the hamlet’s embung [ponds of stagnant water] and bathed the cows together.
The main celebration of Merti Desa is the parade of thousands of jugs. After the guyang sapi ceremony, hundreds of residents carried jugs, which were filled with rainwater, as well as offerings such as nasi tumpeng [cone-shaped rice], traditional snacks and crops produce. The parade moved around the area and stopped in the embung.
The procession then continued with a wayang performance. The puppeteer Agus Bimo Prayitno told a story about two knights, Ismoyo and Tejo Mulyo, battling over power. The show informed the audiences about rainwater and its function for the community.
“This is a rainwater campaign. The dry area makes rainwater valuable for the residents of Bunder and Jarakan. The government should build more retention basins in the area,” said Bimo.
Read also: http://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2017/03/21/bunder-jarakans-residents-regard-rain-and-cow-as-valuable-items.html