Grebeg Sudiro: Chinese New Year Celebration in the City of Solo

Grebeg Sudiro: Chinese New Year Celebration in the City of Solo

Chinese Javanese communities in the Royal Town of Solo, also known as Surakarta, celebrate the Chinese New Year with the Grebeg Sudiro Solo carnival. The carnival showcases the acculturation between China and Java. It’s usually focused around Pasar Gede. The Philosophy. The term grebeg is a Javanese term for the traditional celebration or carnival, generally for, but not exclusive to Islamic events, like the commemoration of the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad, the Islam New Year, also Eid al Adha. The harmony in between Javanese and Chinese culture is reflected throughout the Grebeg Sudiro carnival. A mountain shaped pile of offerings comprising basket cakes, vegetables and fruits will be paraded around pastor gede before being swarmed from the audiences in a matter of minutes.

The audiences are urged to get the offers as he embodies the Javanese doctrine of ora babah ora mamah, which means that you’ve to make what you eat. The offerings represent gratitude to God Almighty. The Grebeg Sudiro mountain shaped offerings, known as gunungan, is built of tens of thousands of Chinese sweet sandwiches known as kue keranjang. The cakes are made particularly for the lunar new year only. The gunungan is paraded around the Sudiroprajan region, followed by Chinese and Javanese musicians and dancers in traditional costumes. Towards the end of the parade, a large teapot shaped lantern on the gates of Pasar Gede is lit, then followed by light from other lamps decorating the market.

Social and Cultural Relationship. The Grebeg Sudiro shows the harmonious relationship between the Chinese and Javanese communities that live in one area, respecting each other’s traditions and lifestyle. When preparing for Grebeg Sudiro, both cultural groups assist one another in preparing for the ritual to thank God and the universe for the blessings and bounties awarded to them. The Sudiroprajan region a part of the Jebres sub-district within the city of Solo, Central Java. The Chinese have stayed here for generations and lived harmoniously with the Javanese. Through the years of marriages and acculturation, new generations of mixed marriages, known as Peranakan, created this unifying tradition.

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