Sat, 27 Mar 1999

Earth purification ritual in C. Java

JAKARTA (JP): A three-day earth purification ceremony featuring local arts and cultural activities is being held in a village about one hours drive from Yogyakarta this weekend.

Organized by the Soran Foundation, the event will take place in Soran hamlet, Duwet village, Klaten regency, Central Java. It will begin on Saturday afternoon with the opening of a bazaar marked by a jathilan, a tranced horse dance, followed by a performance by a children's traditional orchestra and other Javanese art performances and prayers. A wayang (shadow puppet) show and kenduri (a ritual gathering) will be held on Sunday. Monday will feature a furniture and handicraft exhibition, and a bazaar of food and home industry products.

Earth purifications, or ruwatan bumi, a Hindu-Javanese tradition with Islamic elements, often are held across Java to promote peace. They also are thanksgiving ceremonies where villagers express their gratitude to the Creator and cleanse themselves of evil influences.

The ceremony usually takes place three times during the year: during Idul Adha (Islamic Sacrifice Day), which falls on March 28 this year; Maulud Nabi (Prophet Muhammad's Birthday) on June 26; and 1 Suro (Javanese New Year), on April 17. However, the ceremony may be held on other dates, such as Independence Day on Aug. 17, or whenever an earth purification is deemed necessary. (sim)