Sekaten Festival: Yogyakarta, Central Java

Today in Yogyakarta marks the beginning of Sekaten. Held during the weeks preceding the commemoration of the prophet Muhammed’s birthday, the procession of the Sekaten ceremony begins with a parade of royal servants bringing the two sets of the ancient and sacred gamelan percussion instruments named Kyai Gunturmadu and Kyai Nogowilogo to the Grand Mosque (Mesjid Agung).

The procession comes from the western side of the Palace Square to mark the beginning of the ceremony. The Gamelans are played simultaneously for seven days. It’s interesting to know that Javanese still believe that by chewing betul (sirih leaves) while listening to the two sets of gamelan, they will get a good life and granted youthfulness.

The special foods that remain in the Sekaten tradition are Nasih Gurih and Endhog Abang. During the Sekaten a night fair is held at the northern square (Alun-ulun Utara) for almost a month.