TEDAK SITEN

Ritual of Stepping Foot on Earth

Tedak means to step foot; Siten from Siti means soil, earth, Tedak Siten means to step foot on earth. This ritual depicts someone readiness to face a successful life in the future, with the Godís blessings, with the guidance from the parent, since her/his childhood.

This traditional ceremony is performed, when a child, a girl or a boy is at the age of 7 selapan : 245 days, Selapan is 35 days. A wetonan /birthday occurs every 35 days. Except the 7 days week, there are 5 Pasaran (Market) days i.e. Kliwon, Legi, Pahing, Pon, Wage. Consequently there is 5 kind of Sunday, for instance Sunday Kliwon, Sunday Legi etc, the same with the other days.

From Sunday Legi to Sunday Legi again is 35 days. Thatís named Weton in Javanese. For a Javanese to know his/her weton day is important.

Usually, the happy occasion should be organized in the morning, in the front yard of the house. Except the parents and the family, some elderly people also present to give blessing to the child. The necessary sajen/offering may not be forgotten. It is symbolizing a request and pray to God the Almighty in order to receive blessing and protection from HIM, to receive blessings from the ancestors, to combat evil deed from human and bad spirit. The ritual ceremony can be held in good order and safety.

After all preparation has been done, the family (the parent, the kid, the relatives) and invitees gather in the place of ceremony. The steps of the ritual should be as follow:

  1. The kid is guided to walk on 7 different color of delicacy (red, white, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet) made from glutinous rice. The kid in the future should be able to overcome all obstacles in life.
  2. The kid is guided to step on a ladder made of "Arjuna" sugar cane and then step down. Sugar cane in Javanese is Tebu, abbreviation of Antebing Kalbu with all heartís determination. The sugar cane "Arjuna" Ė the kid should behave like Arjuna Ė a true fighter and warrior. Passing the sugarcane Arjuna ladder is depicting, he/she should walk in life with determination and full of confidence like the heroic Arjuna.
  3. Stepping down from the ladder, the kid is guided two walk on a pile of sand. He should Ceker-Ceker (to play the sands with both feet) in Javanese means to work and to earn something to fulfill his/her need.
  4. The kid is guided to enter a decorated cockís cage. Inside the cage, there are several items, such as writing-books, jeweleries, golden accessories- ring, necklace, bracelet, rice, cotton and other useful items. Letís the kid chooses, if the kid plays with the writing-book, probably he/she should be working in an office or be a professor. If the kid chooses jeweleries, probably the kid should be a rich person etc. The cage means entering the life, he/she should be guarded by good things.
  5. In the meantime, the father and the grand father spread over udik-udik (coin and flowers). It is hoped, that he/she should have an easy way to earn a living and should be generous by helping others.

  6. The kid should be bathed or cleaned with Sritaman flowers, consists of rose, yasmin, magnolia and cananga. It is hoped, the kid in the future could give a good name to the family.

  7. At the end, the kid is dressed neatly with beautiful and new dresses. It depicts that he/she should always have a good and prosperous life and can make the parents to live happily.

The ritual has been performed safely, everybody is happy. Hopefully the goal of the ritual is achieved, with Godís permission and the blessing of the elderly family and invitees.

Joglosemar Online is grateful to Mangkunagaran Palace for the photos, showing the ritual Tedak Siten of G.R.M. Bhre Cakrahutomo Wirasudjiwo, the son of His Highness Ė K.G.P.A.A. Mangkoenagoro IX with his wife, K.B.R.AY.A. Mangkoenagoro IX.

(Suryo S. Negoro)


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