Local Arts : Ceremonies


Traditional Ceremony of “Rebo Kasan / Tolak Bala”

Rebo Kasan or Tolak Bala is a yearly event based on the Islamic calendar, celebrated by people in Air Anyir Village, Merawang, Bangka, on the last Wednesday during the Shafar month (the second month in the Islamic calendar) and being held in a mosque. ‘Rebo Kasan’ literary means “the last Wednesday of the Shafar month”. Local people believe that God might give various kinds of punishment during Rebo Kasan anytime during the day. Legends say that disasters will happen to villages if the ceremony is not held.

During Rebo Kasan, people are asked to be more careful and not to do any hard work or travel before 2pm. The village leader will ask his followers to gather and pray to avoid misfortunes. People then go to the beach and bring kinds of food, such as ‘ketupat’ (rice cake boiled in a rhombus-shaped packet of plaited young coconut leaves) –called ‘Ketupat Tolak Bala’ and ‘Air Wafak’ (holy water that have already spelled by the leader). The ‘ketupat’ is then released from its coconut-leaves-wraps and thrown to the ocean. This symbolizes people being released from misfortunes and protecting people from the dangers.

Sepintu Sedulang Tradition / Nganggung / Sedekah Kampung

Based on ‘Sepintu Sedulang’ philosophy: keep the togetherness alive through happiness and sadness. The event is held during pepper harvest, traditional ceremonies, Islam’s celebration days (Mohammad’s birthday, Ta’aruf Festival, Eidul Adha, etc), wedding and funeral ceremonies, etc. Each household is expected to bring various dishes in a ‘dulang’ (large round tray) to be eaten together. This is a community self-help or mutual cooperation tradition among people in Bangka.

Mandi Belimau ceremony/Belimau Bathing

The ceremony of Mandi Belimau is held every year in August to welcome the Ramadhan (fasting month), it is usually celebrated 7 days before the start by the people of Jada Bahrin village in Limbung riverbank, Merawang subdistrict. People, local officials and even the regent of the region gather in a place, to be washed by some local figures of Islam with holy water (taken from local wells and has already been spelled; and mix with lemon and charcoal). The local consider it as repent water that purify their selves.

Bangka Ceria Imlek

This is a yearly event in celebrating Chinese New Year, enlivened by various attractions like Lion dance, parade, fireworks, etc., around the city. This Chinese New Year festival is normally held for a week, usually in February in some pagodas.

‘Sembahyang Kubur / Cheng Beng’ (Tomb Sweeping Day)

Cheng Beng is an annual event, which is usually held in Santosa cemetery by the Chinese community to commemorate their ancestors. The ceremony starts 10 days prior to the “D” day by cleaning the cemeteries. The “D” day or the grand ceremony day is usually held on 5 April. People pray in the cemetery and put some offerings such as fruits (sam kuo), chicken or pork (sam sang), arak (Chinese wine), biscuit, vegetarian food (cai choi), note (kim cin), and so on. During the ceremony, the cemetery is decorated with ‘lampions’ (lanterns).

Pek Cun / Twan Yang

Pek Cun is another Tionghoa’s people tradition based on Kong Hu Cu belief. In Kong Hu Cu, some Chinese people believe in the guidance of Prophet Kong Hu Cu. In this believe, Pek Cun is called Twan Yang. Twan means bright, positive or sun. Followers believe they will get the positive power from God on Pek Cun’s day. Nowadays, an attraction like Barongsai and various activities, such as making an egg standing (it is believed that people who succeeded in standing up the egg have patience and will be endowed with fortune) and throwing “Bacang” cake to the ocean are parts of the tradition of this event. A night before the ceremony, Chinese descendents often gather in a pagoda to pray.

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