Sedekah Laut Tradition

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Sedekah Laut tradition is throwing Sesaji (some foods for the God) to the sea in order to give the gifts for the God or mbaurekso. Sedekah Laut is a popular and sacred rituality for people in Cilacap, Central Java, who work as a sailor in their livelihood. This tradition is to give thanks to the God for the fish capture. It is held every year when it is in Muharram (a month in Arabic calendar) or Syuro (a month in Java calendar). Usually, it is held on Tuesday or Friday Kliwon (kind of day in Java calendar). This tradition first began in 1839 and had some changes until the final traditional method in 1856.

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In Cilacap, Sedekah Laut tradition is known more as Larung Sesaji. People sweep the sesaji way in the sea, they believe that it is like as a respect and thankfulnes for Nyi Roro Kidul (the spirit in the south beach). They also believe that Nyi Roro Kidul is a spirit who organizes and looks after the people life in South Java Beach. Good or bad fish capture and sailing depend on the kindness of Nyi Roro Kidul. Therefore, to make Nyi Roro Kidul helps and gives the safety for sailor, people there should give some gifts in every year. Because this tradition is very sacred, people there believe that if it is not held, it will be caused some dangers from the God.

 

The process of Sedekah Laut starts from 07.00 a.m. Each sailor group brings Sesajen which contains with handmade food, raw food, children toys, and heads of cow or goat. There are also many people who dance the traditional dance by wearing traditional clothes and walk to the Regency Pendopo (open veranda in Java mansion). After all of the Sesajen was gathered, then it brings to the Teluk Penyu beach.

 

Sedekah Laut has the special meaning from Java Kejawen (the old java). The meaning of it is related with the nature and social environment. The meaning is described in one sentence in Java language; it is Memayu Hayuning Bawana. Memayu means about the protection, Hayuning means about the preservation and safety, and Bawana means about the nature and world. Therefore, Memayu Hayuning Bawana means the protection and rescuing the environment in the world. It also means that human in this world has the duty and responsibility to protect the nature and all of the creatures there.

 


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