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Jakarta Post

Celebrating prophet Muhammad's birthday

Wed, January 17, 2018   /   12:38 pm
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    Offering: Fruit and vegetables are piled up together in what is known as a gunungan. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    For those who serve: Women in traditional Javanese costume bring food for the abdi dalem, the staff of the palace. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Royal gathering:The abdi dalem come out with colorful masks and costumes. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Marching together: Local men carry a large gunungan called Estri. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Royal rumble: Hundreds of locals compete to get whatever they can from a gunungan. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    No waste: Local residents empty out gunungan. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

Maksum Nur Fauzan

The sultan’s palace in Surakarta, Keraton Solo, in Central Java, organized last month the Grebeg Maulud, a traditional procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAW. During the procession, locals paraded four mountain-shaped piles called gunungan, which were made up of agricultural produce, fruit and vegetables, to the Surakarta Grand Mosque and back to the palace for distribution.

From 8 a.m., residents from all parts of the city thronged in front of Kori Kamandungan, the name of the palace gate, enthusiastically waiting to watch the procession.

Among them was Putri, 23, who came all the way from Jakarta to witness the palace tradition.

At 10 a.m., Keraton troops emerged in a parade, followed by gamelan players and the four loads of gunungan, passed the Siti Hinggil hall, the Pagelaran yard and the Alun-alun Utara square before arriving at the mosque.

After a prayer ceremony, two of the gunungan were left in the mosque yard, up for grabs by eager residents.

The other two were returned to the palace gate, where the large crowds were also keen to scramble for the rations.

Believed to bring blessings, good fortune and health, the gunungan offerings were totally gone within only a few minutes.