Welcoming Ramadhan with Sadranan Ritual
Residents of Samiran village, Boyolali, Central Java, gathered at Kuncen Cemetery on Wednesday to observe the sadranan or nyadran ceremony. Sadranan is a ritual of preparing one’s self to welcome the holy month of Ramadhan.
Kuncen is an old cemetery situated on Mount Merapi’s hill, where ancestors of Samiran village are believed to reside. The ceremony started when the villagers cleaned the cemetery one day prior to a mass prayer in the location.
In the morning after, dozens of villagers visited the cemetery while bringing tenong, a round-shaped food container made from bamboo or steel. A tent was erected at the cemetery for a few of them, while others flocked to a small road beside the cemetery. Quranic verses and prayers were then recited, for the ancestors to be well in heaven and the villagers to be prosperous.
Afterward, they opened each of their tenong, filled with snacks, fruits and sweet traditional dishes made from glutinous rice. After exchanging the food they brought from home, villagers started to eat together, as a symbol of sharing happiness and being grateful for nature’s blessings.
Sadranan has become an important tradition for villagers in Java. People who grew up in the area but had since moved often returned solely to observe the ceremony.
Widodo, who resides in Samiran village, said, “Almost every village on Merapi’s hill and Merbabu take turns observing sadranan, making the month prior to Ramadhan feel joyous.”
Sadranan is also a time for families to gather.
Widodo said, “Not only is sadranan a way of preserving traditions but it is also a way to bond with families and residents from other villages.”
Whenever sadranan is observed, the town of Boyolali becomes more lively than usual. Not unlike Idul Fitri, the residents don their best clothing and prepare food for neighbors and visiting relatives. It has also become an unofficial agreement that only one or two villages can observe sadranan each day, to make visits less hectic.