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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ketupat War Ceremony in Tempilang

Publish 01-01-1970 07:00:00 by Admin
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A. Brief Information

Ketupat is a kind of food which is made of rice boiled in a rhombus-shaped packet of plaited young coconut leaves. How does it look if hundreds of ketupats are used as “war” equipments? You will solely find such a “war” in Pasir Kuning Beach, Tempilang Village, West Bangka District, Bangka Belitung Province.

Ketupat war ceremony is habitually held by the local inhabitants of Tempilang Village. The ceremony is aimed at royally dishing the people’s ancestors’ dead spirits. They assume that those spirits are flying around their village watching out their descendants and recent conditions in place where they lived in the past. For that reason, the ceremony is also intended to express gratitude to the ancestors so that they will not cease to save the village.

No one knows exactly when the ceremony was held for the first time. Based on a folklore existing amongst the inhabitants, the ceremony has presented since the huge volcanic explosion of Mount Krakatau in 1883 A.D. However, some state that the ceremony has persisted since the Portuguese’s occupation in Indonesian.

The whole sessions of the ceremony spend two days starting with several traditional dance performances on the first day. Thereafter, offerings for the ancestors’ dead spirits are put down in a place namely Penimbong – a small house made of Menangor wood. That is why this session is called Penimbong as well.

The second day, the “war” is begun by performing Serimbang Dance followed by reciting mantras by the shamans who are designated to head the ceremony. When the shamans are reciting mantras around a pile of ketupats, Serimbang dancers perform the dance by walking around the shamans.

After all, the shamans order 20 youngsters to stand around the pile of ketupats neatly stacked above a plaited pandanus mat. Once the shamans sign the opening of the ceremony, they will try to take as many as ketupats they can and throw them to other youngsters. The situation is totally uproar at this time. After that, the shamans stop the first part of the ceremony.

The second day is almost the same as before, but the “war” is ended by Nganyot Perae ceremony of which some small wooden boats are flowed to the sea. It symbolizes the inhabitants’ admiration to their ancestors’ dead spirits by “sending” the dead spirits back homes.

B. Distinctive Features

You will not see the only what so-called “war” during the celebration of Ketupat “war,” but some other traditional dancing performances as well. There are Campak, Serimpang, Kedidi, Seramo, and Kamei dances enhancing the celebration become merrier.

To some extent, there are several additional ceremonies, either before or after the main ceremony, such as Penimbong, Ngancak, and Nganyot Perae ceremonies. You will be amazed watching four shamans falling into trances in turn, one by one.

When a shaman is falling into trance, people argue that an ancestor’s dead spirit is living inside the shaman’s body. The spirit moves to another shaman’s body when other shamans are trying to make realize the shaman who is being trance. It seems so scary, but this mystical atmosphere will be a merciful ceremony when youngsters are conducting ketupat war.

C. Location

The celebration of Ketupat War Ceremony is usually centred in Pasir Kuning Beach in Tempilang Village, Tempilang Sub-district, West Bangka District, Bangka Belitung Province. In addition, the ceremony is commonly held ahead of Ramadhan month so you can plan first before visiting Bangka Belitung Province.

D. Access

Pasir Kuning Beach is around 36 km away from the heart of West Bangka City – approximately 25 minutes. We suggest you to take your own cars since there are only few busses that may bring you to the location. In addition, access to the location is not good enough; hence you must be careful when trying to accessing the location.

E. Ticket Price


F. Accommodations and other Facilities

Though isolated from big cities, you can find accommodation and supporting facilities that may improve your visit to this location becomes more comfortable. For you who want to spend more than a day here – as it spends two days – you can stay at the local inhabitants’ houses so that you can watch the entire sessions of the ceremony.

Budi Asyhari (wm/11/03/08)

Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/wm/11/10-08)


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