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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 6 - The Birth of Muhammad
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Indonesia Series at IndonesianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indonesian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6, The Birth of Muhammad. In Indonesian, it’s called Maulid Nabi Muhammad.
The Birth of Muhammad is a celebration in which Muslims commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Although the veracity of the event is debated, this celebration is still carried out all over the world, including Indonesia. Maulid, literally meaning The Birthday in Indonesian, has taken root as a tradition close to the heart of many local cultures.
In this lesson, we’ll talk about various traditions involved with The Birth of Muhammad celebration in the Indonesian archipelago.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know what date the Prophet Muhammad was born?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
In South Kalimantan, praise for the birth of Muhammad is expressed through a ritual of reciting prayers and Islamic poems while cradling a baby, or in Indonesian bayi. This tradition dates back to the tradition of the Dayak tribe to pray for a child so that he will grow into a healthy adult, devoted to his parents, and following the examples of the Prophet Muhammad. The child’s cradle is made of a cloth adorned with young coconut leaves, cakes, coins, and fruits.
Sekaten is a Javanese tradition to celebrate Maulid which dates back to the era of the Demak kingdom, the first Islamic kingdom in Java. In the city of Solo, this is started a week before the day of Maulid by playing a gamelan, a traditional musical orchestra made of a variety of percussive instruments, in the ward of Masjid Agung, meaning The Great Mosque. The gamelan is played from morning until evening for 7 days and only ceases during prayer times. On this day, two giant cone-shaped rice dishes called tumpeng are blessed and carried in a procession outside the palace, or in Indonesian keraton. Crowds of onlookers surrounding Solo will fight over the rice and fruits of the tumpeng because they believe it will bring them special blessings.
In Cikoang, South Sulawesi, the tradition of Maulid, called Maudu Lompoa, is celebrated by decorating fishermens' boats. On this day, the people of Cikoang wear traditional costumes and walk in procession, carrying a wooden rack to hang ornaments, known as julung-julung, and offerings consisting of decorated eggs, chicken, parboiled rice, glutinous rice, praying cloths, traditional Sulawesi fabrics and other decorations. The julung-julung is placed in a boat and decorated with colorful fabrics. The beautifully decorated boats can then be enjoyed by onlookers, while the most spiritual among them will jostle to take the eggs and the items in the julung.
The celebration of the Prophet’s Maulid was first held in the thirteenth century for one full month. Thousands of people gathered in one place to hold an enormous celebration and to exchange gifts. Nowadays, the celebration is much simpler, referring to the advice of the Prophet not to celebrate his birthday.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what date the Prophet Muhammad was born?
Maulid is the commemoration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad which is celebrated on the 12th of Rabi' al-awwal of the Islamic calendar. However, the exact date on which the prophet was born is still in question.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you know about any other Maulid traditions?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!