Thanksgiving in Everything

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November.

In my country, especially in Java island, all stages of human existence pass through slametan – a ritual held as a token of gratitude or thanksgiving.

A slametan can be given in response to almost any occurrence one wishes to celebrate, ameliorate or sanctify. Birth, marriage, sorcery, death, house moving, bad dreams, harvest, name-changing, opening a factory, illness, supplication of the village guardian spirit, circumcision, and starting of a political meeting may all occasion a slametan.

For each the emphasis is slightly different. One part of another of the total ritual is intensified and elaborated; structure of the ritual remains the same.

Why slametan?

When you give a slametan, nobody feels any different from anyone else and so they don’t want to split up.

Also a slametan protects you against the spirit, so they will not upset you.” this tendency to the state the implications of social behavior in psychological terms, according to its ultimate effect on the individual’s emotional equilibrium and to state to those implications negatively is characteristic.

At a slametan everyone is treated the same. The result is that no one feels different from anyone else and so no one has a wish to split off from the other person.

Also after you have given a slametan the local spirits will not bother you, will not make you feel ill, unhappy, confused. The goals are negative and psychological –absence of aggressive feeling toward others, absence of emotional disturbance.
The wished – for state is slamet which the Javanese defines with the phrase “ga ono opo-opo” – “there isn’t anything” or more aptly “nothing is going to happen (to anyone).”

In slametan ceremony, we usually make Tumpeng, a cone-shaped rice dish like  mountain with its side dishes (vegetables and meat). The philosophy of Tumpeng is related to the geographical condition of Indonesia, especially Java as fertile island with numerous mountains and volcanoes.

In slametan ceremony, after the people pray, the top of tumpeng is cut and delivered to the most important person. He or she may be the group leader, the oldest person, or the beloved one. Then, all people in the ceremony enjoy the tumpeng together. With tumpeng, people express the gratitude to God and appreciate togetherness and harmony.

The tumpeng is surrounded by assorted of Indonesian dishes, such as urap vegetables, fried chicken, empal gepuk (sweet and spicy fried beef), abon sapi (beef floss), semur(beef stew in sweet soy sauce), teri kacang (anchovy with peanuts), fried prawn, telur pindang (boiled marble egg), shredded omelette, tempe orek (sweet and dry fried tempeh), perkedel kentang (mashed potato fritters), perkedel jagung (corn fritters), sambal goreng ati (liver in chilli sauce), and many other things.

References:

  • Wikipedia
  • Jakarta Post

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