Sugengan: a Kraton Yogyakarta Praying Ritual

English | Indonesia

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The Konco Kajis (ones in white) and several abdi dalems are offering prayers during the ritual of Sugengan. The ritual is led by the Kraton’s wedding headman.

Sugengan: A Kraton Yogyakarta Praying Ritual

The Sugengan ritual, or Selametan, is performed as a form of prayers to God so that the wedding ceremony will go successfully.It has three essential purposes: expressing gratitude to, asking for safety, and requesting for protection from God.

Sugengan in the Pengulon
There is a ritual required prior to the wedding. It is called Sugengan. The Sugengan or Wilujengan is usually called by common people as Selametan, meaning ‘an event of praying for safety’. This ritual is a frequent occasion in the Javanese society. In this case, the Sugengan is performed to start the grand wedding ceremony of the Sultan’s fourth daughter.

This Sugengan will be held on Monday (9/16) at 4pm at the Kauman Great Mosque, Yogyakarta, precisely in the Pengulon section (pengulon means ‘the place of a traditional leader’). The Sugengan will also be an event to officially commence the preparation towards the wedding in this October. As normally, it will be held 35 days before the wedding.

According to K.R.T Drs. H. Akhmad Kamaludiningrat, who is going to lead the Sugengan, the ritual comprises three essential purposes, i.e. expressing gratitude to, asking for safety, and requesting for protection from God. During the ritual, the abdi dalems (royal servants) and the guests will pray for the success of the wedding. There will also be prepared a set of ubarampe (ritual accessories) to symbolize the prayers.

The Sugengan is intended to be an expression of gratitude to God for His blessings for the Sultan’s family who are holding the event. It is also meant to be a form of gratefulness to God for the crops. This is represented with the ubarampe that is made of various crops. The harvests show the prosperity God has given.

By holding the ritual, the royal family also aims to ask God for safety, particularly for the upcoming wedding. With a hope for everything to go in a smooth and safe manner until the end of the event, safety prayers will be recited.

In addition, the Kraton family is asking for God’s protection from bad, undesirable things that may interfere with the wedding. The ubarampe has meanings as well, aside from being a symbol for prayers to God.
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Several abdi dalems are making sesajen (offerings), to be used during the ritual of Sugengan. The offerings consist of various cooked crops and sea products.

Each element of the ubarampe prepared for the Sugengan signifies for something, such as the tumpeng (a cone of rice) that symbolizes a mountain, which is traditionally honored by the Javanese as the abode of God; the sekul suci (meaning ‘pure rice’, made of rice cooked with coconut milk) that stands for self-purification; and the ketan (glutinous rice) that represents a wish for God’s forgiveness.

This ceremony is carried out together with the Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji and other abdi dalems. Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji is a term to refer to a group of abdi dalems who have performed hajj and are usually involved in religious ceremonies. The official number of this special kind of royal servants is 12 people so that they are often referred to as Kaji Selusin (the Twelve Hajjes). However, not all of them will be required to be present. Aside from the Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji, there are other abdi dalems whose task is to help prepare and organize the ritual’s ubarampe.

Sugengan in Bangsal Kothak
The Sugengan was not held only once. Last Monday (8/10), the Kraton performed the ceremony again in Bangsal Kothak that is located in the yard of Bangsal Kencono. It was the second Sugengan for the wedding, after the first had taken place in Pangulon, on the east of Kauman Grand Mosque.

“The Kraton always hold a Sugengan before commencing an important activity. This Sugengan is a way of praying that the ndalem (royal) event will fare well,” said Raden Riyo H. Abdul Ridwan in an interview after the Sugengan.

The ceremony was attended by Punokawan Kaji and Abdi Dalem Suronoto. They were given the responsibility to carry out the Sugengan this time. Prayers were expressed to ask for safety, for the smooth process of the event, for the Sultan’s longevity, and for the wellbeing of the ancestors.

The Kraton of Yogyakarta, which is an Islamic Kraton (traditional Javanese kingdom), tries to combine its tradition with Islam. According to Raden Riyo H. Abdul Ridwan, the many ubarampes prepared in the ceremony are a form of tradition. These ritual accessories, however, are now meant to be a symbol of the wishes to the one and only God (in line with the Islamic belief). “These ubarampes will be distributed, and those that can be eaten will be eaten. This is because the ubarampes are not offerings; they are manifestations of gratitude,” said Raden Riyo H. Abdul Ridwan ending the interview.


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Konco Kaji (yang berpakaian putih) dan beberapa abdi dalem sedang berdoa dalam Sugengan. Sugengan dipimpin oleh penghulu kraton.

Sugengan: ‘Selametan’ ala Kraton Yogyakarta

Sugengan atau ‘selametan’ dilaksanakan sebagai wujud doa kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa agar acara pernikahan esok berjalan lancar. Intinya ada tiga: memanjatkan puji syukur, meminta keselamatan, dan memohon perlindungan.

Terdapat sebuah upacara yang harus dilaksanakan sebelum acara pernikahan dihelat. Upacara ini dinamakan Sugengan. Sugengan atau wilujengan ini oleh masyarakat umum kerap juga disebut selametan. Selametan dalam bahasa Indonesia berarti keselamatan. Ritual ini sudah kerap dilakukan dalam adat masyarakat Jawa. Dalam hal ini, Sugengan dilaksanakan untuk memulai perayaan besar pernikahan puteri ke-empat Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X.

Sugengan untuk pernikahan GKR Hayu dan KPH Notonegoro dilaksanakan pada Senin (16/9) pada pukul 16.00 WIB di area Masjid Besar Kauman Yogyakarta, tepatnya di Pengulon. Pengulon dalam bahasa Indonesia artinya penghulu. Sugengan ini juga sekaligus menjadi acara untuk meresmikan persiapan menuju pernikahan pada bulan Oktober mendatang. Sugengan dilaksanakan 35 hari sebelum acara pernikahan dihelat.

Menurut KRT Drs H Akhmad Kamaludiningrat, selaku penghulu saat acara Sugengan, inti dari Sugengan ini ada tiga, yaitu, memanjatkan puji syukur, meminta keselamatan dan memohon perlindungan. Saat Sugengan, para Abdi Dalem Kraton beserta tamu akan memanjatkan doa untuk kelancaran acara pernikahan esok. Disiapkan juga berbagai ubarampe (sesaji) sebagai simbol dipanjatkannya doa tersebut.

Sugengan dimaksudkan untuk mengucapkan rasa syukur atas karunia Tuhan Yang Maha Esa yang diberikan untuk keluarga Sultan sebagai yang sedang memiliki hajat. Acara ini juga sebagai wujud syukur untuk segala hasil bumi yang sudah diberikan Tuhan. Ucapan syukur diaktualisasikan dengan ubarampe yang berasal dari berbagai hasil bumi. Hasil bumi ini melambangkan kesejahteraan yang sudah diberikan

Sugengan juga memiliki makna untuk meminta keselamatan, khususnya untuk acara pernikahan yang akan dihelat. Dengan adanya Sugengan ini, diharapkan sepanjang pelaksanaan acara pernikahan esok, semua hal akan berjalan lancar dengan selamat dari awal hingga akhir. Oleh karena itu, upacara Sugengan juga diiringi dengan dibacanya doa keselamatan.

Selain itu, Sugengan dilaksanakan pula untuk meminta perlindungan dari hal-hal buruk yang tidak diinginkan yang bisa mengganggu jalannya acara. Ubarampe yang disiapkan juga mengandung makna dan menjadi wujud doa kepada Tuhan yang Maha Esa.
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: Abdi dalem nampak sedang mempersiapkan sesajen untuk Sugengan. Hasil bumi dan laut diolah untuk menajdi sesajen.

Semua ubarampe yang disajikan ketika Sugengan ini memiliki makna, semisal tumpeng (nasi yang dibentuk menyerupai kerucut) memiliki makna ketuhanan, lalu nasi gurih (sekul suci) adalah perwujudan dari pembersihan diri, dan ketan memiliki makna agar semoga dosa-dosa dapat diampuni oleh Tuhan.

Upacara ini dilakukan bersama Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji dan Abdi Dalem yang lain. Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji adalah Abdi Dalem yang sudah berstatus haji dan biasanya dilibatkan untuk upacara-upacara keagamaan. Jumlahnya secara resmi ada 12 orang sehingga dinamakan Kaji Selusin. Namun, tidak semua Kaji Selusin diharuskan untuk hadir. Selain Abdi Dalem Punakawan Kaji, ada juga Abdi Dalem lainnya yang bertugas untuk membantu menyiapkan dan menata ubarampe sesaji.

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