The Ceremony of the Royal Slametan or Rajawedha Maesa Lawung/Buffalo Lancing in Karaton Surakarta

During the reign of Sri Susuhunan Pakoe Boewono II when the palace was in Kartosuro, the traditional rite of the Royal Slametan of Maesa Lawung was accomplished regularly at the first month of the year.

This ritual dated back from ancient time, since the year 387 when King Sitawaka of Gilingaya Kingdom performed the royal slametan – Rajawedha for the safety and welfare of the King, the Kingdom and the people. The people of every village made also offering, at the same time, at the beginning of the year, it was called Grama Wedha – sacrifice for village well- being, a ritual meal for village purification.

Then the Rajawedha was renamed to Maesa Lawung by the King – Sri Prabu Ajipamasa of Pengging Kingdom. An offering of Buffalo Lancing - Maesa Lawung was made in Krendawahana about 10 km north of Solo city, to Batari Kalayuwati. This tradition was continued in Demak, Kartosuro and Surakarta. In Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat the time of Maesa Lawung rite was changed to Javanese month of Bakda Mulud for the year 2008 will be in May, on the last service ‘Pisowanan’day.

The preparation of Maesa Lawung

30 days prior the royal duty Maesa Lawung, the related abdi dalem (court employees) make a written report to the Kusunanan Authority (Nagari) advising the execution date of royal duty Maesa Lawung and reminding of the usually needed items.

The Resasugata Building

The women abdi dalem in charge are Nyai Lurah Sekullanggi and Nyai Lurah Gondoroso. The cooking and the preparation are made in the kitchen of Resasugata Building. The list of items to be cooked and prepared:

  1. 1 slaughtered buffalo.
  2. 2 big tombro fishes or 4 smaller tombro fishes.
  3. 40 pcs of deer’s dried meat
  4. 1 pc of antelope dried meat
  5. 1 pc of kancil dried meat
  6. 2 live white ducks
  7. 2 live white chicken
  8. 4 live chicken
  9. flowers Purbonagoro - 4 pcs
  10. young yellow coconuts - 4 pcs
  11. coconut leaves - 4 pcs

and 2 tons of rice to make rice cones, salt, cooking oil, and of course, some amount of money to buy other things necessary such as flowers, betel leaves, various fruits etc.

3 days prior to the offering date; the abdi dalem Mantri Jagal (Butcher) reports to abdi dalem Lurah Juru for the buffalo slaughtering, court employee Lurah Juru Suranata with 2 Jajar (subordinates) go to see the male buffalo – they have to ‘ Nitik ‘, see thoroughly that it is indeed a Lawung (wild) male buffalo, fit for offering.

Then the abdi dalem/court employee- Marbot Paramasana (butcher) shall do the slaughtering. It must be done carefully. Two recipients are provided to store the buffalo’s blood, which shall be offered to Krendawahana. The butchers accompanied by Gladhag court employees bring the meats etc to Resasugata Building to be cooked by the female-Lurah officers and their crew. Some of the meat are ‘Kalak’ cooked without spices – it is for offering. In the eve of the offering day, 2-court employees Jajar juru have to stay for the whole night in Resasugata Building. One is burning incense, the other is preparing the coconut.

In the morning, at 8.00 a.m., all the offering are placed in Malige, nearby the Sasono Sewoko by the two female Lurah Nyai Sekullanggi and Nyai Gondoroso, aided by juru lurah with his 10 jajar subordinates.

At the scheduled time, the King arrives in Sasono Sewoko to hold audience. Female officer, Nyai Tumenggung presents a report on the ceremony of Maesa Lawung royal slametan. A court officer Bupati in duty in Sri Manganti requests to King for the release of Maesa Lawung offering.

The King replies: ‘Tok-Na’! (Go ahead, take them outside). The offering then brought to Bangsal Marakata led by Nyai Tumenggung and received by abdi dalem: Kabayan and Kemitsiti. The chamberlain (Bupati Anom Gandek) transmits the order of the King to the Royal Minister (Pepatih Dalem).

Then the offering is arranged in Bangsal Sewayana in Siti Hinggil.

A part of the offering which are brought by abdi dalem Juru are put on the tables (for ritual meal, to be eaten together), the other offering are arranged on the right and left side of the tables.

Pepatih Dalem sits on the north of Bangsal Manguntur Tangkil facing north, facing the offering. He is flanked by all the prefects (abdi dalem Bupati), Wedana, Panewu, Mantri. In the other side are other court-employees taking part in this ceremony. He orders Bupati Anom Suranata to lead the prayers.

Once the royal slametan is over, they eat together the meal. While the blood of the lanced buffalo in the two boxes, is offered to Krenda-wahana. The blood is carried by 2 throne attendants-Jajar Marbot Paramasana (Suronoto).

Together with the village head of Krendawahana, the offering is placed under the Grasak Tree. After pronouncing the wish of Maesa Lawung, from the King, which is requesting the safety of the King, the country and all its contents, they brought back the yellow boxes, left behind only the earthen wares (Kuwali) contains the buffalo head and other offered things.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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