For many Indonesians, the end of the holy month of Ramadan is among the most long-awaited times of the year. As millions of Indonesians travel back to their hometowns to celebrate Eid-al Fitr, or Lebaran as it’s often called within the country, the holiday has perhaps taken on a meaning of being more than just a religious celebration, but has also become synonymous with spending time with one’s family.
However, for some Indonesians, Eid-al Fitr is not the only celebration held after the conclusion of Ramadan. In Java particularly, there is also a tradition of celebrating Lebaran ketupat or kupatan, a celebration that takes place a week after Eid-al Fitr. For those following this tradition, the seventh day after Eid al-Fitr is seen as a celebration of completing the six days of recommended fasting after Ramadan.
One such city that celebrates Lebaran ketupat is Rembang, a city on the northern coast of Central Java. On the first day of Lebaran ketupat, the celebration is opened with a ritual known as larung sesaji, where the fishermen living around the coast send a boat filled with offerings out into the sea as a sign of gratitude. Following this, a parade is held within the city, where many neighborhoods make floats that they then drive around the streets of Rembang. There was also a marching band performance by the Banser islamic militia group Later on, the first day of Lebaran ketupat ends with a performance of the traditional Reog dance.
The festivities don’t just end on the first day however, as the celebration continues on for the next three days. On the second day, they bring in an orchestra performance. Following that, on the third day they hold a traditional wayang shadow puppet performance. And finally, they conclude the festivities on the fourth day with a pengajian where, for this year, they invited the prominent Muslim intellectual, Emha Ainun Najib, or often referred to as Cak Nun.
The center of the celebration, the coast where the offering is sent off into the sea, is home to several fishermen paguyuban or fisherman associations, that are also in charge of running the events held during Lebaran ketupat. As stated by the head of one of the fisherman associations in the region, Paguyuban Nelayan Mina Barokah, Mr. Kadromi, the association will give some amount of money to the surrounding neighborhoods to help fund their needs for the parade.
The celebration of Lebaran ketupat in Rembang is also not just attended by the local inhabitants, but the large amount of festivities held during this celebration has drawn many from the surrounding cities and villages to come to Rembang to watch the parades and all the other festivities.
This year in particular it seems that the enthusiasm from both local inhabitants and tourists have been at an all time high, according to Mr. Kadromi. As he mentions that the events held in each celebration haven’t really changed that much year to year. However, due to the pandemic, this tradition had not been able to be celebrated for the last three years. As such, there has been an outpour of enthusiasm from the local inhabitants in supporting the parades and all the other various events held during Lebaran ketupat.
Editor/Reporter: Ektada Bilhadi