blog.indahnesia.com - Discover Indonesia Online

    
You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Myths and mysticism that surround Merapi


Myths and mysticism that surround Merapi YOGYAKARTA - Discussion on Mt. Merapi volcano, expected imminently to erupt, would be considered incomplete unless it included the myths and mysticism that surround it. Reaching magnificently up to the sky on the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces, the 2,968-meter volcano is believed, by the traditional Javanese communities that live in its vicinity, to be a sacred place.

Some think that the volcano is the kingdom of spirits; while visiting Merapi, people are advised not to do things that could anger the spirits, such as relieving oneself wherever one might wish. Others believe that the volcano is guarded by spirits, whose names vary from one region to another. On the northern slopes of Merapi, for example, Mbah Petruk is the guardian. In the south, the guardian spirit is Kyai Sapujagad, who was believed to have been sent by Panembahan Senopati to guard Merapi.

Panembahan Senopati was the founder and first king of the Mataram Kingdom, which ruled Yogyakarta from the 16th century. Other spirits are believed to live in or guard the volcano. These include Nyai Kendit and Dewi Gadung Melati. The rituals for worshiping Merapi or the spirits, therefore, also vary from one place to another. In Selo, Boyolali, Central Java, for example, villagers hold the Sega Gunung ritual to worship Mbah Petruk.

Others do so through ordinary tumpengan rituals, during which ceremonial dishes of tumpeng (cone-shaped yellow rice), are presented and served. Merapi is also often personified as a living figure that can interact well with the surrounding communities and environment according to the way human beings behave. If people treat the volcano well it will be friendly to them: The reverse is also true.

"Merapi is kind. Locals treat it well, while visitors often do bad things at Merapi," said the volcano's spiritual gatekeeper Mbah Marijan. When it comes to talk of Merapi, 79-year old Marijan, who has been the gatekeeper for over 40 years, can be considered part of the Merapi mythology. Believed to be one who knows much about the volcano, Marijan has, for a long time, been an unofficial leader, not just of villagers from Kinahrejo hamlet, Umbulharjo village, where he lives, but also for residents of Cangkringan subdistrict, Sleman.

As such, people follow what he says, including his recent decision not to leave his abode, although local authorities have warned the public to do so due to increased activity at Merapi. When he installed a contraption made of coconut palm leaves at his house to ward off misfortune, villagers in his area followed suit. A number of taboos also surround Merapi. One includes a prohibition on mentioning the volcano by name. Locals believe that to do so could bring them bad luck.

When referring to Mt. Merapi they therefore prefer to use the words "Si Mbah" instead.Si Mbah means "elderly person" or "respected figure", used for the volcano as an expression of respect. Villagers in Turgo, which is only a few kilometers away from the summit, similarly, believe that holding a wedding ceremony on the eve of Kliwon (Tuesday) in the Javanese calendar will bring them bad luck.

Many also consider it taboo to use the word "eruption" to describe the volcanic activities of Merapi. Instead, they prefer to say that Si Mbah is having a ceremonial feast if an eruption occurs. They believe that when it expels hot lava, Merapi is really sending golden carriages to the South Sea, the kingdom of Nyai Ratu Kidul (Queen of the South Sea), for the feast.

A myth exists, especially among more traditional Yogyakartans, that an imaginary line runs between Mt. Merapi to the north, Yogyakarta Palace in the center and the South Sea to the south. "It symbolizes fertility. It's a bit like yin and yang or lingga and yoni," cultural commentator Yuwono Sri Wasito of Yogyakarta Cultural Council once told The Jakarta Post.

In this instance, Yuwono said, Merapi symbolized the male world while the South Sea symbolized the female. Such opinion matches the local belief that Merapi eruptions symbolize sexual intercourse between Panembahan Senopati and Ratu Kidul, and will in turn bring wealth to the people. "Many of us here still believe that," Mimin Dwi Hartono, who hails from Kaliurang Barat, only a few kilometers away from the peak of Merapi, told The Post.

Other taboos include pointing directly at Mt. Merapi with one's fingers and wearing light green clothes while climbing the volcano. To do so is believed to bring bad luck to perpetrators. According to Javanese culture expert Suryanto Sastroatmodjo, in Javanese culture a volcano occupies an important position. It is also referred to as the Sang Hyang Dahana Giri, a representation of the possessor of the universe, God the Almighty.

"So, when you have to deal with it (the volcano), the most important thing that you should do is pray to God for protection," Suryanto convinced. Offerings like tumpeng or jajan pasar (traditional snacks), says Suryanto, are just accessories. No one can really say if a particular ritual is appropriate or not. "Even if you have nothing to offer, that's OK. Your total submission to God is the most important thing," he said. Therefore, Suryanto adds, the living myths and rituals can also be seen as a way of preserving a natural balance at the volcano.

A huge crowd of people, some of whom are shown in this file picture, participate in a tumpengan ritual on the slopes of Mt. Merapi at Kaliurang, Sleman regency. During the ritual, participants worship Mbah Petruk, a divine spirit believed to be a guardian of Merapi.
A huge crowd of people, some of whom are shown in this file picture, participate in a tumpengan ritual on the slopes of Mt. Merapi at Kaliurang, Sleman regency. During the ritual, participants worship Mbah Petruk, a divine spirit believed to be a guardian of Merapi.



Tags: culture, merapi, indonesia, myth, story, tell, and


Posted in Culture @ 12 May 2006 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!


Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

    
 ABOUT THIS ENTRY
Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at ticketindonesia.info.
 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
 BLOG ARCHIVE
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
 POPULAR TAGS
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
 BLOG CATEGORIES
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
 EXCHANGE RATES
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
 MOST RECENT REACTIONS
·  At 14 July 2020 08:32 newnight reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:48 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by indahnesia.com · feedback & contact · © 2000-2020
Other websites by indahnesia.com: ticketindonesia.info · kamus-online.com · indonesiepagina.nl · suvono.nl

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 140,412,414 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at indahnesia.com