Posted by indonesiaculture | 10/21/2009 06:19:00 PM | | 0 comments »

As I have mentioned in the previous posting, Indonesia culture is very affected by agricultural. In the past, our farmer always called the rain prior to start planting rice or vegetables. However, in modern ages like now, this ritual has been replaced by rain technology, also has been replaced by weather estimation which assist farmers to start the planting.

But, in Banyumas – Central Java the ritual to call the rain is still alive and implemented by society especially in Plana village, Somagede – Banyumas. In this area, agricultural is very depending on the water from raining. Therefore this ritual, called as Cowongan, is still implemented by society.

Cowongan ritual is conducted in September, October or end of Kapat (time calculation as per Java Calendar). In this time, the water source has dried and the villagers has faced a difficulty to find water.

The ritual can be performed may times until rain falling. But, the performance is only allowed in odd calculation such as 1 night, 3 nights, 5 nights and 7 nights. Based on experience, Cowongan ritual usually didn’t performed more than 7 nights.

To perform Cowongan ritual, they use a tools like Jailangkung (traditional game to call spirit, I will write about this later). As a tool, Cowongan use siwur (water dipper) which stolen from neighbor which located on wuwungan (a top of house).

The stolen water dipper shall be stored below banana tree to absorb natural energy in 3 days. Then, the stolen water dipper can be used for ritual.

In this ritual, the players allowed are menopause women, in other villages men are also allowed. Cowongan ritual is started by mantera (magic spells) using the ancient Java language. The magic formula usually is as follows: Sulasi sulanjana. Kukus menyan ngundang dewa. Ana dewa daning sukma. Bidadari temurunan. Runtung-runtung kesanga.

This mantera is request for fairy or angel to come from heaven and enter to siwur which has been made up as cowongan doll like beautiful lady. The fairy or angel is believed as a good spirit not devil. The come of the angel to the earth is expected to deliver message from earth society to God in order to give raining. To ensure the message received by God, close to cowongan doll they burn kemenyan (incense derived from gum benzoin) whose smoke is believed can deliver the message to God.

As I wrote in the previous posting that Indonesia culture is fulfilled with symbolic culture. In this ritual, cowongan is one of example of symbol to represent all ideas and praying to God. The powerful and effectiveness of this ritual is very depending on the faith and believing of the society.

NOTE: this article is adapted based on article in KOMPAS daily edition 19 Aug 2009 page 38 and written by Madina Nusrat with original title “Seni Tradisi Cowongan : Berusaha Eksis tetapi Tetap Eksis”.
(Osa Kurniawan Ilham, Balikpapan-Borneo, 21 Oct 2009)