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Lebaran Topat: Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

For Sasak (natives of Lombok) Muslims, the most vibrant religious festival of the year falls seven days after Idul Fitri. The day is known as Lebaran Topat. If Idul Fitri is a victory celebration to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan, then Lebaran Topat is the celebration of a double victory. For right after Idul Fitri, Sasak Muslims fast for another six days.

“And on the seventh day we organize the Lebaran Topat to mark this victory, once again,” a local cultural observer, H. Jalaluddin Arzaki, said.

Topat is the local word for ketupat, rice boiled in plaited young coconut leaves. It is one of the main elements of the offerings presented during the celebration.

This year, Lebaran Topat fell on October 20.

Beginning early Saturday morning, the Sasak gathered at the graves of religious leaders who played a pivotal role in bringing Islam to Lombok.

In Lombok’s capital Mataram, Loang Baloq cemetery was the center of the celebration. This is the final resting place of Ghauz Abdul Razak, an Iraqi spiritual teacher who passed away sometime in the 17th century.

During Lebaran Topat an average of 25,000 people visit his grave.
They begin the celebration with the nyangkar makam, spreading flower petals and sprinkling perfumed water on the grave. They then approach a giant Banyan tree and tie different objects to the tree, from drinking straws to colorful ribbon, while making wishes.

The highlight of the celebration is the kuris ritual, during which Muslim children have their heads shaven for the first time. More than 150 children from 60 sub-districts around Mataram participated in this year’s ritual.

Each of the children arrived in an elaborately decorated cidomo, or horse-drawn buggy.

“We have packaged this event as a tourist attraction since two years ago. That’s the reason behind the decorated cidomo. Later on, we will select the most beautiful cidomo,” the secretary of the event’s organizing committee, H. Alfen, said.

The children then had their heads shaved by religious figures, community leaders and government officials. Those in attendance chanted sacred verses from the Koran during the ceremony.

At the end of the ritual, participants and observers enjoyed a public feast, eating fruit and topat from the presented offerings.
The presence of offering during Lebaran Topat, according to H. Jalaluddin Arzaki, is evidence that the celebration contains pre-Islamic elements.

“The celebration is part of our dwirgami traditions, the tradition that was followed by our ancestors prior to the introduction of Islam to the island,” he said.

“In the past, the dissemination of Islam would meet difficulty if the preachers could not accommodate local cultures and traditions. Nowadays, the dwirgami traditions can be integrated into religious festivals as long as they don’t breach the basic tenets of the Islamic faith.”

Panca Nugraha