Jathilan, The Oldest Dance in Java in Commemoration of Sudo Molo 1 Suro

Who would have thought, Jathilan is the oldest type of traditional dance on the island of Java. Various types of celebrations also present jathilan as a tradition and entertainment to strengthen brotherhood. Jathilan dance also depicts the spirit to crush enemies and evil. This is applied to the Sudo Molo ritual or reject reinforcements to repel the pageblug of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Various rituals to commemorate the Islamic New Year are always routinely held every year. Not to forget what the people of Lereng Lawu did. They held the Sudo Molo ritual to the accompaniment of the Jathilan dance. Different from previous years, Sudo Molo was held in a limited way in Ngetrep village, Ngargoyoso district, Karanganyar, Central Java. It is always carried out in order to welcome the Islamic New Year which coincides with the Suro Month of the Javanese calendar.

Jathilan dance has a long history of accompanying the Javanese people in defending their homeland. Its existence is so attached to the community that it becomes a distinctive icon.

In Jathilan dance there is one leader who usually plays warok or reog. His movements are so agile and agile as his name implies. Taken from the Javanese sentence “jarane jan thil-thilan” which means the horse really dances irregularly. Not infrequently in the arts of Jathilan the players experience a trance and lose consciousness. Dissolved with the accompaniment of high-pitched gamelan instruments.

There is no definite literacy when the creation of the Jathilan dance. This gave birth to various versions of the story of the beginning of Jathilan. Starting from the time of Sunan Kalijaga, the Kingdom of Mataram, to the horsemanship of Prince Diponegoro. However, all the stories boil down to the function and form of art that contains the meaning of war.

Jaranan art uses horses from woven bamboo or braids. The players are also in groups like soldiers who are ready to fight. In the past, Jathilan was used as a means of public entertainment and a place to show the identity of the Javanese people who also had military power to fight.

Jathilan in the Sudo Molo 1 Suro commemoration is more functioned as an event to encourage and enliven the Sudo Molo ritual. This ritual is carried out by parading heirlooms and offerings from Slope Lawu. A mountain and banners are not left behind being paraded around the village.

Various vegetables ranging from cabbage, mustard greens, carrots, green beans, to chilies are neatly arranged. The majority of the contents of the gunungan are vegetables, considering that the majority of people in Ngargoyoso cultivate crops and rely on vegetable commodities.

Strands of beautiful yellow coconut leaves accompany the journey during the procession. The sense of family spirit is reflected during the Sudo Molo procession. This ritual is also a form of reducing people’s suffering in order to get abundant harvests and prosperity. As the name implies, Sudo means reducing and Mala means suffering.

The whole ritual procession always applies health protocols. Participants are required to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Jathilan performance is the highlight of the Sudo Molo ritual.

Likewise the Jathilan players who have gone through a health check. Between the players and the audience are given a barrier in the form of a bamboo fence. Like a match arena to provide comfort and not cause a crowd of visitors.

When performing the Jathilan or Kuda Lumping dance, the leader or handler will make the dancer experience spirit possession. In other rituals and performances, even dangerous attractions are often performed. Horse dancers are even able to chew shards of glass to devour the burning embers. However, everything happens under the control of the handler. After that they realized and without feeling the pain before.

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