Javanese people, like those in Yogyakarta, consider rice as the living plant for farmers. As a form of gratitude before harvest in the hopes of a bountiful one, Javanese farmers usually perform a procession called Wiwit tradition or Wiwitan.
Wiwit, as the tradition in farming families from the forefathers, is held before a rice harvest or in the beginning of the rice harvest season. Etymologically wiwit means to begin, and thus the start of the harvest. Essentially, the meaning of wiwit is the expression of gratitude and prayers to God for the bountiful harvest. From a different point a view, the procession of wiwit is the social interaction among farmers. It is a symbol of a harmonious relationships among the people and the farmers with the land and nature around them, which provide their livelhood. So, again, wiwit is a declaration of thankfulness to Earth and Dewi Sri (Javanese rice goddess) that grow the rice to be harvested.
Indmira, as a research-based company in agriculture, environment, and renewable energy, feels the need to hold this ceremony before the rice harvest on their production and research lands to preserve the tradition. We held our procession on 21 May 2015, Thursday, to show our appreciation to God’s blessing for the bounty as well as to everyone involved in the planting and caring processes.
“Wiwitan, for us, is a way to express our thanks for God’s gift as well as appreciation of the hard work from everyone and preservation of tradition from our forefathers”, explained Bintari Rochim, Indmira Research Director.
The ceremony was attended by the farmers and members of Indmira research team. A lady in her fourties, Mrs. Suparsih, prepared the necessities for the offering in the procession, which included flowers and banquet to be enjoyed together. Mrs. Suparsih, a local farm worker, appeared joyous in preparing for the event. The feast contained a large amount of steamed rice, seasoned vegetables (sayur megono), boiled eggs, seasoned whole chickens (ingkung), jadah jenang (firm steamed sticky rice bars), jenang (soft steamed sticky rice), traditional snacks, and fruits. This offering was decorated with red and white rose petals, jasmine, kenanga (Cananga odorata), and kanthil (Magnolia x alba).
Wiwitan at Indmira commenced with prayers to thank the Lord followed by the banquet. Joyfull laughter and brotherhood filled the celebration.
The harvest itself was not held that day, instead it took place four days later on Monday, 25 May 2015.
Let’s hold on to these traditions! (Le)