Friday, August 19, 2011

Kinds of Fasting in Javanese Tradition

Indonesia consists of a lot of tribes, and Javanese is one of them. I, myself have lived here all my life. Since the majority of population in Indonesia is Moslems, that’s why Ramadhan is a month that has been longed for by many Moslems here. Fasting is actually applied by many other religions with their own versions and applications. Many believe that fasting has positive effects both mentally and physically

Javanese people also believe that fasting is full of blessings. Javanese philosophy stated that fasting is time to train body and soul, sharpen their mind and sensation, and purify their emotions.

Those devoted Javanese people have discovered some methods of fasting in Javanese traditions. These people do their fasting according to some counted days to improve their spiritual and metaphysic.

The following is some methods of fasting in Javanese tradition:

1, Mutih
In this method, one is not allowed to eat anything but plain rice ( no salt, no sugar or any spices) and plain water. Before applying this kind of fasting, one must take a shower and read some chants.

2. Ngeruh
In this method, one is only allowed to consume vegetables and fruits. Any kinds of meat, poultry are not to consume.

3. Ngebleng
This fasting method does not allow one who applies it to eat, drink, go out of room/ house and do sexual activity. However, one can go to restroom when necessary. One must reduce their time to sleep. Mostly, this kind of fasting is done in 24 hours. When the night comes, no light is allowed, either.

4. Pati Geni
This kind of fasting has some similarities with the previous one. The difference is one is not allowed to go out room with any excuses, and no time to sleep. Some do this method in certain period of time: 3 days, 7 days, etc. 

5. Ngelowong
This method is a bit easier than the previous two. One who applies this fasting is not allowed to eat or drink in certain period of time. One is allowed to sleep in 3 hours (in 24 hours). Going out of the house is fine. 

6. Ngrowot
This method of fasting is applied from dawn till dust. The meal consumed is only fruits during the meal before fasting. The fruit can be from any kind as long as one consumes only one kind of fruit. For example, one can take 3 bananas for the meal. One is fine to sleep during fasting.

7. Ngranyep
This method has some similarities with the first method, Mutih. The difference is one is allowed to eat other kinds of food (not only plain rice and water), with one condition, the food doesn’t have any taste (tasteless). 

8. Ngidang
One consumes leaves and plain water. 

9. Ngepel
Ngepel here means palm full. One is allowed to eat rice as much as one’s palm full. In some condtions, one is fine to eat more than one palm full.

10. Ngasrep
One is to consume tasteless food and drink 3 times in a day.

11. Monday and Thursday
This fasting method is done on Monday and Thursday. This fasting is I line with Islam teaching as taught by Prophet Muhammad SAW. 

12. Wungon
This method of fasting is done by skipping eating, drinking and sleeping for 24 days.

13. Tapa Jejeg
One is not allowed to sit for 12 hours.

14. Lelono
One has to do a walking trip from 12 midnight to 3 at dawn. One usually does it for self reflection

15. Kungkum
Kungkum is a unique meditation. Many practitioners who apply this meditation find an incredible sensation when they do it. There are some procedures for those people to do. They mostly do it for 7 days. 

16. Ngalong
This meditation is done by putting one’s body upside down. In certain level, this method is done by putting one’s feet on a tree and one’s head is down (Ngalong=kalong=bats). One cannot have a lot of movements when he/ she is doing this. By doing this kind of meditation, one trains his/ her breathing technique. This method will give maximum benefits when one does Ngrowot fasting, too (fasting method number 8) 

17. Ngeluwang
This kind of meditation is the scariest thing for common people since it needs a great courage. People believe that this kind of meditation is applied to get supernatural vision. In this method, one must be buried in a graveyard or in an isolated place.

Well, folks, for your information, centuries ago, Indonesia’s ancestors used to worship animism and dynamism due to the previous religions. Islam first came to Indonesia around 7th century. Centuries later, it is hard enough to eliminate some beliefs held by traditions even though some are against Islam teachings

(from translated manually by Lila)