Kamis, 09 Oktober 2008

Sekaten is derived from the Koran Arabic word “Syahadatain” which means giving confession. In Islam when a person wants to start as a Moslem he has to make his vow by mentioning the syahadatain. He has to confess that Allah is the only God, and that Mohammad is His Messenger.
In the middle of the fifteen century Sunan Kalijaga, who was one of the prominent preachers of Islam in Central Java, tried to combine two different cultures: the Moslem and the Javanese Hinduism. He was confident that the best way to attract as many people as possible to come to the mosque was to use the gamelan, a group of musical instruments which was popular to the people since the gamelan music has to be used to accompany Islamic pray rituals, especially during sekaten.
What is sekaten actually? It is a celebration of birth of Prophet Mohammad. People in Jogyakarta celebrate sekaten by holding a one week fair on the square in front of the Sultan’s Palace. On the first day of fair, two sets of Sultan’s gamelan are taken out of the palace and placed in the front of yard of the big Kauman’s mosque. They will be played continuously every evening throughout the sekaten week. During the Maulud Month people from all over Jogyakarta crowd the square to enjoy the Pasar Malam while listening to the sound of the gamelan. The purpose of the gamelan orchestra is to attract as many people as possible from near and far places. Originally the gamelan was only means to allure people to the mosque to listen to the sermon.

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