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By R. W Seton-Watson

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These two “customary ceremonies” are performed annually during the month of Suro, like many others in DIY and Central Java, for “peace, tranquility, health, and economic wellbeing” out of apprehension (keprihatinan) over getting rid of bad fortune and bringing in the good, according to traditional Javanese beliefs— “kejawen” or Javanism—adhered to by many local Muslims, Catholics, and into the forms Kyi and Ki and Nyi and Ni. Ki and Ni are also used for unmarried persons. Mbah is a title of respect for a leader or champion of a cause.

Although many villagers and residents of urban neighborhoods, including many highly educated people, support the status quo, growing numbers of students, Islamic activists, and “modern” educated residents desire change in the direction of free City of Culture 31 elections for these political positions. 16 In addition, these events contribute to the discourse of Yogya as a “cultural center,” in which cultural assets, especially the more exotic, elaborate traditional ceremonies, are valued as “objects” and “assets” to develop tourism and businesses, small and large, linked to tourism (cf.

A large group of jathilan dancers with horse props and torches led the procession of Paku Alam palace guards, sacred heirlooms, kendi ijo (green clay pitchers containing sacred water), and a gunungan (a conical structure composed of vegetable products on this occasion) to its final destination where thousands of local people crowded on the sides of the road. After official ceremonies, people scrambled to ngalap berkah, obtaining blessings from grabbing goods off the gunungan and securing rice and money thrown out to the masses.

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