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Jakarta Post

Some things remain, others disappear from Sekaten celebration

Thu, November 7, 2019   /   04:41 pm
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    The spot where people would find a ferris wheel in the west square of Yogyakarta palace. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Meatball sellers are no longer allowed to set up in front the Yogyakarta palace. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Street artists, who were easily found in the 2015 Sekaten, are no longer around. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Secondhand clothing stalls used to inhabit the northwest square of the palace in the 2018 Sekaten. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    A secondhand clothing seller. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    A popular merry-go-round in the 2013 Sekaten. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Toys sellers are among the few that remain at this year’s Sekaten. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Gamelan is played by royal servants for seven days non-stop. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Thousands of people gather at Gede Kauman Mosque in 2011 for the chance to pick something from the offerings. JP/Boy T Harjanto

Boy T Harjanto

The lights of a ferris wheel brightened the sky over the north square of the Yogyakarta palace were no more. The festive sound of the merry-go-round was absent, while the colorful umbrellas of the food stalls were also gone.

The street artists were nowhere to be found, as were the usual rows of secondhand clothing sellers.
The annual Sekaten celebration this year no longer included the night fair, which previously was an event on its own in the month-long tradition that commemorates Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday.  

This year, the Yogyakarta palace will not issue a permit for the fair as past events resulted in mountains of waste and damaged the grass around the square.

What remains is the Sekaten exhibition, organized by the Yogyakarta palace, and food sellers around Gede Kauman Mosque.

Savory rice was sold by the time two sets of gamelan, Gamelan Kyai Guntur Madu and Kyai Nagawilaga, from the palace were transported to Pagongan Kidul Hall (south) and Pagongan Lor Hall (north) of Gede Kauman Mosque.

When the gamelan made its first sounds, the Sekaten celebration began. For seven days non-stop, the gamelan would be played by abdi dalem (royal servants). It would end with Grebeg Maulud, when cone-shaped offerings filled with produce would be offered to the public. (wng)