Up for grabs for good fortune
The celebration of Idul Fitri in Yogyakarta is not limited to family gatherings with expressions of seeking and granting forgiveness for past wrongdoing. The post-fasting month holiday is celebrated by all levels of society, from locals to tourists, in the
Grebeg Syawal traditional ceremony. The ceremony is held to greet 1 Syawal, the Islamic New Year, and features the presentation of seven gunungan mountain-shaped offerings of agricultural produce to the people.
The mountains, symbolizing a charitable act of the sultan for the people, are paraded by members of the court, who are flanked by soldiers from Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace, to the northern area of the palace square, home to the Great Mosque, Pakualaman Palace and the local government complex. After they are presented, members of the public, who have been waiting since the morning in sweltering temperatures, do their utmost to grab part of the offerings.
They believe that the offerings will bring them bountiful blessings from the Almighty.
The colorful traditional ceremony, held this year for 1 Syawal 1437 on July 7, has become one of the attractions of the sultan’s palace in not only performing its royal functions, but also its religious and cultural roles.
IN THE SPIRIT: Wirabraja palace guards try to stay cool in the heat ( photos from top counter-clockwise). The Patangpuluh brigade awaits the start of the ceremony. Palace servants carry the offerings, before members of the public vie to grab them. A guard rests at the end of the ceremony.
ON WITH THE PROCEEDINGS: Members of the public gather in the palace courtyard for the ceremony ( photos left to right). A guard is helped after falling down during the procession. An elderly woman collects the scattered remains of the offerings.
REMAINS OF THE DAY: A woman happily carries home her “blessings” ( photo left). Palace servants sit together after completing their tasks for the ceremony ( photo right).
ALL DONE: Guards return their arms after the ceremony ( photo above). The traditional event also attracts foreign visitors ( photo left).