The village of Ambarketawang is located in Sleman, Yogyakarta. In this village, there is a traditional ceremony named Saparan Bekakak, a tradition that always held every month Sapar (Safar). It’s the second month in the Islamic calendar. The ceremony is held to commemorate their ancestors Ki Wirosuto. While, Bekakak is dolls of bride and groom made of glutinous rice filled with liquid sugar in it. The legend that said to be the cause of this traditional ceremony is as follows.
Ambarketawang Village is an area of limestone hills named Gunung Gamping. Once, there was Ki Wirosuto, the courtiers of Sultan Hamengkubuwono I who led the villagers to mine limestone that would be used to build the palace of Yogyakarta. However, “the keepers” of the hill often plague the quarrying of limestone so that had taken numerous victims. Among these was Ki Wirosuto.
Because there were many casualties, Sultan meditated in Gunung Gamping area. In his meditation, Sultan was visited by “the keeper” the place that asked a bride and groom were sacrificed each year for the smoothness and safety of limestone quarrying activities.
But Sultan is not the leaders who have the heart to sacrifice its people. The request was then responded by making offerings of bekakak and then sacrificed. Apparently, it worked. And since that time, the Saparan Bekakak become a yearly routine ceremony that held in this village.
Now Saparan Bekakak ceremony was packed into a cultural activity that is expected to invite tourists. These are the pictures of ceremony of Saparan Bekakak that I attended last year. I had to fight with dozens of photographers to get the best place to photograph the ceremony, so I cannot provide you the good quality of images.