Rabu, 04 November 2009

Mitoni and Siraman

Analysis of Javanese “Mitoni” Ceremony
a. Form
Tradition grows in line with the cultural progress of society. In Java, especially Yogyakarta and Central Java, all stages of human existence pass through slametan (a ritual held as a token of gratitude for surviving danger or bad luck and to ask divine blessing). One of Java's traditional rites which still exist is mitoni, for the safe passage of a woman's first seventh-month pregnancy.

b. Meaning
There are several meanings or aims of this tradition. They are divided into several level of importance.
 Primary Meaning
The ultimate meaning of this tradition is that The Javanese believe that a seven-month-old infant has got a soul, whose security should be celebrated. And the first child is said to bring good luck to the family and other siblings.
 Secondary Meaning
The secondary meaning of this tradition can be seen from the place where the ceremony is held. The outdoor ceremony symbolizes the common people's humble attitude and their expression of gratitude to God.
 Tertiary Meaning
Another meaning that can be seen in one ritual held on Mitoni ceremony is kenduri (ritual gathering with meals and religious prayers) attended by neighbors. Silaturahim (Togetherness) is clearly seen here.

c. Distribution
This ceremony, lasting from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., the woman and her spouse are bathed first, before being dressed in separate places like a royal lady and a prince, with unofficial costumes. Mitoni takes place in the would-be mother house.
Both are later brought together for a janur (young coconut leaf) cutting. The wife wears a janur wreath round her neck, and the man approaches her to slash the leaves with a keris. Their dresser immediately tosses an egg, amid the audience's applause.

Analysis of Javanese “Siraman” Ceremony
a. Form
'Siraman' is from the word 'Siram', which means to take a bath. Siraman is one of Javanese traditional ritual held before a girl is getting marriage. Like other traditional ceremonies, Siraman is practiced in different fashions in different regionalities, as the saying goes 'so many places, so many customs'. But the ultimate aim of the tradition is still the same.
b. Meaning
There are several meanings or aims of this tradition. They are divided into several level of importance.
• Primary Meaning
This holy bathing ritual in siraman is done to purify the would-be wife. Virtue and security are what this ceremony is all about.
• Secondary Meaning
Melodious gamelan music is being played to accompany the Siraman ceremony in the house of the would-be mother’s parent. Several ladies in colourful traditional Kebaya (shirts) and Batik cloths are participating to give their blessing. The secondary meaning here is the togetherness.
c. Distribution
On a bright sunny morning, the would-be wife, wearing no rings, bracelets, necklaces, ear-rings, etc. is dressed in a white loose cloth. She is escorted by several ladies to the bathing [place] in the back garden. She sits on a chair covered with an old mat and several kind of plant leaves like opok-opok, alang-alang, oro-oro, dadap srep and awar-awar (all depicting safety) and the leaves of kluwih (depicting a more prosperous life).

Form, Meaning, and Distribution of Culture
These functioning units of culture, these patterns which constitute the designs that together are the culture, have form, meaning and distribution.
1. Form. The form of these patterns of culture are identified functionally on inspection by the members of that culture, although the same individual may not be able to define accurately the very forms they identify.
2. Meaning. Like form, meanings are culturally determined at least in part. They represent analysis of the universe as grasped in culture. Patterned forms have a complex of meanings, some representing features, of a unit or process or quality, some grasped as primary, others as secondary, tertiary, etc.
3. Distribution. All of these meaningful units of forms are distributed in patterned ways. Their distribution patterns are complexes involving various time cycles, space locations, and position in relation to others units.
Form, meaning and distribution probably do not exist independent of each other in a culture, but they are spoken or operationally here as separate. Forms are relevant when they have meaning, and meaningful forms always occur in patterned distribution.

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