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)