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The History of Grebeg Sudiro

10:36lpmcampus

In New Order Era (1965-1998) the Chinese middle-low class ethnic and the Confucian religion were politically and socially restrained, in other words not free from the suspicions. For example, in 1973 there was a school that required the students to changes their religion (Confucianism) because there were no Confucian subjects in the school. Something strange here is the student could only choose Christian or Catholic religion in their examination.

Through Presidential Directive No. 14 of 1967, Soeharto started political and social restraints on Chinese Communities in Indonesia. One of the points contained in the policy is related to the rules of celebrating Chinese New Year aka Imlek in Indonesia. Suharto did not directly prohibit Chinese New Year celebrations for citizens of Chinese descent in Indonesia.  In the Presidential Instruction above, there is a point which states that "celebrations of Chinese religious festivals and customs are carried out in a not unobtrusive manner in public, but carried out in a family environment." So, when the Chinese New Year arrives, families of Chinese descent in Indonesia still celebrate it in a private environment.  Unlike the Christian New Year, Islamic New Year, Eid al-Fitr, and Christmas which is freely celebrated in public areas.

When entering the Reformation Era, BJ Habibie as a President issued two ethnic Chinese-related policies, namely :
  1. Presidential Directive No. 26 of 1998 which abolished the terms indigenous and non-indigenous, and directed that all government officials provide the same service to every citizen
  2. Presidential Directive No. 4 of 1999 which abolished the Indonesian Citizenship Certificate (SBKRI). 
Even though they have been given freedom, there are a number of odd things when it comes to taking care of matters that require legality from the government, for example, the Chinese ethnic identity card is given a special sign that distinguishes it from other ethnicities.  So despite having an indigenous physical appearance, if found on the Identity Cards (KTP) this sign would certainly be complicated in managing important papers.  Then, it is required to make an SK BRI or citizenship certificate, even though they already have an Identity Cards (KTP), for Chinese ethnic, they must make a Citizenship Certificate and they must change their name because of it is not allowed to use the name of the Chinese Ethnic.

After that, President Gusdur issued Presidential Decree No.6 of 2000 on the revocation of Presidential Decree No. 14 of 1967 which governs traditional Chinese religion, beliefs, and customs.  Since then, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia can celebrate all the holidays and culture in public spaces.

This was further emphasized during President Megawati's administration which set the Chinese New Year as a national holiday through Presidential Decree No. 19 of 2002.  During the reign of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, several policies were born, including Law No. 40 of 2008 on the elimination of racial and ethnic discrimination and Presidential Decree No. 12 of 2014 which revoked the Ampera Cabinet Presidium Circular No. SE-06 / PRES.KAB / 6/1967.

This decree became the basis for the change of the term "Chinese Communities/Chinese people" to "Tionghoa people and/or communities" and replaced the mention of the country "People's Republic of China" to "People's Republic of Tiongkok."  In addition, at the same time the Law No. 12 of 2006 on Citizenship was born which provided legal guarantees for Chinese citizens, especially regarding their citizenship status.

Since the Chinese civil rights were restored, the Chinese temples began to be visited by many visitors.  The Chinese temple administrators put on lanterns in every Chinese New Year even just only a few rows in front of the temple.  Then there were some young men from the Sudiroprajan village proposing to put on lanterns to be widened to the end of the road.  There was also a proposal for a carnival similar to the “Grebeg", a periodic ceremony held by the Javanese people to commemorate an important event, in the Surakarta palace (Kraton Surakarta).

Source: Jefry Muliawan (Accountant Education '17)
This Grebeg was later given the name Grebeg Sudiro because the event was located in Sudiroprajan Village.  This event carries the concept of “Grebeg” like the one in Surakarta Palace that uses “Gunungan”, a variety of agricultural products that arranged like a mountain, so in this event it also uses “Gunungan” but the agricultural products are replaced with Chinese New Year’s Cakes which made only in the Lunar New Year.

Grebeg Sudiro has been developing from year to year.  Previously only Chinese art, now various arts were given a place and a stage to enliven Grebeg Sudiro. Grebeg Sudiro has become the event that has been eagerly awaited every year because, besides entertainment for the wider community, this event also provides Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (UMKM in Bahasa) a place to market their products.

At one time, funding only comes from a Chinese temple, then it increased from donors to support this event.  These people are not only Chinese but also other ethnic people. This program emphasizes harmony between citizens, not religion.  Balong Village which is still included in Sudiroprajan Village is a multi-ethnic village.  If we enter this village, we will know concrete evidence of harmony among multi-ethnic citizens.

Source: Jefry Muliawan (Accountant Education '17)
The meaning of the current Chinese New Year just the same as the last year. The point here is to welcome the New Year. In the past celebration, welcoming the New Year to start the spring so the lunar calendar began with the born of prophet Gong Cu Lek, a scholar who made the calendar.  Gong Cu Lek was born in 551 BC to 479 BC.





Writer: Amarta Setya Wijaya (Accountant '19)
Editor: Ardhi Setiawan (Public Health '16) & Sindiya M P(English Education '17)
Photographer: Jefry Muliawan (Accountant Education '17)

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