Gamelan

May 10, 2008

Gamelan is an original traditional musical instrument from Indonesia. It is usually used to accompany dances in court, temples or some village rituals. Gamelan has different tunes and notation from other western musical instrument. It comprises two tuning system, slendro with five intervals and pelog with seven intervals. Each gamelan is quite different from the other; however, they all have similar organization, which is based on certain instrumental groups with specific functions. The instruments in a gamelan consist of some sets of tuned bronze gong-chimes, gongs, drums, metallophones, one or more flute, bowed and string instruments, and singers. In some part of the areas in Indonesia, bronze is sometimes substituted by iron, wood, or even bamboo.

Places of Interest in Yogyakarta Part 1

May 10, 2008

As a tourism and cultural city, Yogyakarta attracts a lot of foreign and domestic tourists, because many kinds of interesting tourist attractions can be found in this city. These places are usually visited during day time. While at night the toursit can enjoy beautiful art performances or go down town by becak (pedicab), the specific means of transportation of this city. The specific situation makes Yogyakarta more well-known. Some of the places of interest in Yogyakarta are:

Sultan palace
Sultan’s palace was built in 1755 after the Giyanti agreement which states the division of Mataram Kingdom. Nowadays, people can come and visit the palace and Kraton’s guides-who are wearing surjans or kebayas, the special costumes of Yogyakarta- are ready to take the tourists around.

Batik home industry
Batik is one of the old Indonesian cultures. The traditional dying method of the cloth with the aid of liquidated wax and their beautiful designs are an authentic proof of highly refined art of the Indonesian people. Many batik shops and factories can be seen in Prawirotaman and Tirtodipuran in the southern part of Yogyakarta city.

Kotagede
Kotagede is located in the south-eastern part of Yogyakarta. In this subdistrict, there are many artisans who make lovely silver wares and intricate felligree jewelries. The processs are done with a beating, pressing, and cutting technique.

Water Castle
Water Castle is a part of Sultan’s Palace and it was used as a relaxed park by the families of Sultan. This park was built in 1765 by Sultan Hamengku Buwono I. He created a special model, that was mixture of Javanese and Portuguese architectures.
Besides functioning as a place of entertainment and recreation, Water Castle also served as unique self defence. The water can be used as a useful means to beautify the park as well as to avoid the enemy. When the enemies attacked, the Sultan and his families could flee away through the underground passages. They would go to their secret hiding place and then the Sultan ordered his men to open the water gate in order that the water would flood the passages and whole areas of the park. It could make the enemies who chase the Sultan and his families covered with water.

Sono Budoyo Museum
Sono Budoyo which is the most famous and complete museum in Yogyakarta is situated in the north side of the Sultans’s Palace square. This museum exhibits various collections of antiques, relics and other cultural and historical remains.
During the day time people can come and see neolithicum earthen wares, the eight and ninth century satatues, utensils and many things made of bronze. Those things used to belong to the temples around Yogyakarta and Central Java. Other things which can also be found in the museum are various kinds of puppets, masks, Javanese musical instruments and many other relics and antiques. It is also necessary to know that Sono Budoyo has a collection of cultural books.

Ramayana Ballet Purawisata
In this place, a cluster of dancers perform Ramayana Ballet in Surakarta style. The performance has been presented since 1976. Visitors can enjoy the show which is performed nightly from 8 to 10 on the Open Air Theater. This show has been awarded as the Winner of the Indonesian Record Museum in 2001.

Javanese Traditional Ceremonies

May 10, 2008

Javanese people have many kinds of habits, traditions, arts and culture which are very fascinating and unique. The followings are brief descriptions of some of the habits and traditions that people still perform:

Bersih Desa
A cleansing ceremony held by the villagers after main harvests.

Boyong Temanten
A moving ceremony from the bride’s to the bridegroom’s family.

Brokohan
A Javanese habit of giving brown sugar, coconut and dawet (traditional drink) to the neighbours when a woman gives birth.

Dekahan Gede
A tradition of making big and complete offerings. Collecting in hamlet’s house then divided and given to the poor.

Mitoni
A ceremony signifying the seventh month pregnancy for the first child.

Nyadran
The habit of villagers to clean visit the graves of their ancestors in the month of Ruwah.

Panggih Temanten
A wedding ceremony.

Ruwatan Ceremony
A special ceremony for “Manusia Sukerta” in order not to be victims of Bathara Kala.

Sepasaran
A ceremony for commemorating the baby after five days of its birth.

Tanggap Warso
A tradition to commemorate the first day of Sura, the first month of the Javanese calendar.

Tedak Siten
A ceremony for a child who for the first time touches the ground.

Tetakan Ceremony
A circumcision ceremony for a boy.

Tetesan Ceremony
A special ceremony for a girl signifying her girlhood.

Wiwit
Giving an offering to Dewi Sri, the God of rice, before harvesting.

Obviously, Javanese people have many more captivating ceremonies that we can explore. So, why don’t you grab your passport and visa then book a flight and take a journey to this wonderful land?

Ramayana Ballet Synopsis

May 10, 2008
In Krendayana forest, a part of Dandaka, Rahwana the King of Alengka orders one of his soldiers, Kala Maricha to change himself into a Golden Deer and asks him to seduce Rama, Shinta and Laksmana.

Meanwhile, in the other part of the same forest, Rama, Shinta and Laksmana enjoy the freshness of the bright weather by gathering flowers and watching beautiful animals living in the forest. Suddenly, an animal with the golden fur appears. Shinta is attracted and wants to posses the animal. Rama, Shinta and Laksmana try to catch it but the beautiful animal is very difficult to touch. Then the Deer runs away.

When Shinta is alone because Rama and Laksmana hunt the deer, Rahwana is able to kidnap her. In the sky, they meet Jatayu, the king of birds who wants to save the Princess but Jatayu is defeated and falls onto the ground. Before Jatayu dies, he tells Rama that Shinta is kidnapped.

On the way to Alengka, Rama and Laksmana bump across the white monkey Hanoman who is ordered by Sugriwa to find someone to help him fight Subali to get Goa Kiskenda back. Rama does not mind and succeeds in killing Subali and then he is crowned as the king of monkeys in Pancawati Kingdom. As a king, Rama has hanoman to go to Alengka to see the condition of Shinta.

In Alengka, after giving Rama’s ring to Shinta and as an answer Shinta gives her hairpin ornament, Hanoman wants to know the strength of Rahwana’s kingdom. Soon afterwards, he destroys the beautiful Arga Soka Garden. Knowing this, Rahwana becomes very angry and commands his men to burn the white creature but Hanoman does not die because of his supernatural power, even he takes with him some burning woods and flies in the sky then drops them throughout the building.

When the battle between Rama’s monkey and Rahwana’s giant soldiers takes place, Hindrajit asks Kumbokarno for a help but Kumbokarno cannot win the fight, even he is defeated by Rama. Hindrajit wants to support his uncle but unfortunately Laksmana is able to finish the fight. Hindrajit runs away reporting the situation to Rahwana in the Palace. Rahwana goes to fight Rama but at last he is defeated and killed.

Hanoman fetches Shinta who is very happy to meet her husband. However, Rama rejects her for he suspects about his wife’s purity and asks Shinta to have a holy bath by jumping into the burning fire. Shinta calmly jumps into the holy fire since in her mind she feels that she is totally pure. The God of fire, Brahma, comes down from the heaven and puts the fire out. He tells Rama that Shinta is really pure. Both Rama and Shinta pay a tribute with their hands folded before their forehead to Brahma. Lastly, they return to Pancawati happily.

Ramayana is a very beautiful story and people will keep performing and watching it.

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May 10, 2008

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