16April2014

OBROK TRADITION

INDONESIAN WONDER 17.07.2013

For Muslim, Ramadan is a special month, because in Ramadan, Muslims believe that God gives blessing, forgiveness and releases the people who are fasting earnestly and sincerely from hell. Therefore, there are many ways performed by Muslims, especially in Indonesia to welcome and enliven Ramadan, like Muslim in Cirebon, Losari, Brebes, Kuningan, and Indramayu, the regencies at the border of West Java and Central Java.  They hold Obrok tradition to enliven the holy month of Ramadhan.

Obrok is a tradition to wake up people to eat sahur or early meal before fasting. They use Buroq traditional art. Buroq is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey”. The tradition not only aims to wake up people to eat sahur or early meal, but also to propagate Islam and to preserve buroq art. Buroq art itself is a two flying horse with pretty girl head. From Buroq legend,  Obrok  art was developed.

People say, Buroq art appeared for the first time around 1934 among Badawang or doll maker artists in Cirebon, West Java. Previously the doll making aimed as a media of propagating Islam. Later on, it was then spread to other regions surrounding Cirebon, such as Losari, Brebes, Banjarharja, Kuningan, and Indramayu. Buroq doll is usually performed to commemorate Isra Mi’raj or the night journey of Prophet Muhammad. But then this doll often appears to enliven several Islamic events such as circumcision, a ceremony of finishing reading Qur’an and to wake up people to eat sahur or early meal. 

Every night during Ramadan, especially sahur time before the dawn, Muslim in Cirebon and surrounding area hold obrok tradition. Most of young people perform two Buroq dolls. While kids bring bamboo torch. There are also people who perform kuda lumping or riding a fake-horse dance. They go around the village accompanied by tambourine combined with modern instruments such as guitar. While going around the village, they recite Shalawat Nabi or praising prophet Muhammad while shouting: sahur - sahur. Even, they knock on the doors of  residents’ houses.

 

 

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