This holiday is known worldwide as "Mawlid." In Indonesia, it is referred to as "Maulid Nabi." The word "maulid" or "milad" in Arabic means birthday.
The date of Maulid Nabi is based on the lunar calendar, so it falls on different days of the Gregorian calendar. The birthday of Prophet Muhammad is one of the biggest celebrations in Indonesia.
Celebrating the Prophet's birthday is seen as a moment to remember, appreciate, and honor his birth. According to records by Sayid al-Bakri, the history of celebrating the Prophet's birthday was initiated by al-Mudhaffar Abu Sa'id, a king in the Erbil region of Baghdad.
During the commemoration of Mawlid, people from different circles would gather together. They would recite Quranic verses, share a brief history of the Prophet's life and struggles, and sing blessings.
According to another researcher, A.M. Vaskito, the celebration of the Prophet's Birthday was first established by the Muslim hero Sultan Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi or Muhammad Al-Fatih. The significance of Maulid Nabi at that time was to strengthen the spirit of jihad among Muslims in their confrontation with the Crusaders.
The celebration of the Prophet's birthday in Indonesia was first observed in the year 1404 of the Common Era. This holiday was held to attract people to embrace Islam.
Life of Prophet Muhammad
In the year 570 of the Common Era, Muhammad was born in Mecca, an Arabian city. His childhood was fairly peaceful. However, in the year 576, Muhammad's mother passed away. After that, his uncle Abu Talib took care of him. In his adult life, Muhammad engaged in trade and led a modest life in Mecca. He married a wealthy widow named Khadijah in the year 595. After some time, he began visiting a mountain cave and meditating there.
In the year 610, Muhammad was meditating in a cave when he was visited by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel revealed to Muhammad that those who follow God's will would be rewarded. Muhammad was given the task of spreading the word of God, which led him to become a prophet. As a messenger of God, Muhammad began preaching to people in Mecca. Some people followed his words, but the majority of the population received his preaching with hostility.
Many residents of Mecca were polytheists and worshipped multiple gods. Despite this, Muhammad continued to invite people to Islam. After gathering a group of like-minded followers, he led them out of Mecca in the year 622. The Muslims settled in Medina and continued to propagate Islam.
This migration from Mecca to Medina is now known as the Hijra. Shortly after this event, Muhammad gathered a force of 10,000 Muslims and returned to Mecca. With such a formidable military presence, he easily entered the city. Muhammad destroyed all the pagan idols in the city and declared that "God is one." Over the following years, he united Arabia into the Islamic state.
Prophet Muhammad is revered in Indonesia and other Muslim countries around the world for his ability to establish Islam despite overcoming numerous difficulties.
In Indonesia, there are several unique rituals that people perform to honor the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. However, please note that during the coronavirus pandemic, the conduct of events is restricted, so traditional rituals may be canceled, held in a reduced manner, or limited to a smaller number of participants.
Furthermore, if you are in Bali, you will likely not witness elaborate celebrations for Muslim holidays, as the predominant community on the island is Hindu. For grand Muslim festivities, it's better to visit Java.
One of the most vibrant celebrations takes place at the Sekaten Fair in Yogyakarta, Java. This grand carnival offers a variety of entertainment such as food, games, rides, and exhibitions.
Maulid Nabi, this ritual takes place in major cities. Details may vary in different localities. But generally, the essence is that offerings in the form of cone-shaped "gunungen" are transported from public places to the mosques. In the mosque, the offerings are blessed by the clergy and distributed to the people.
One of the most vibrant "Grebeg Maulud" processions takes place in Surakarta. During the event, "gunungen" is transported from the Surakarta Palace (Kasunanan Surakarta Palace) to the main mosque. "Gunungen" consists of agricultural products, snacks, and even coins. If someone receives a portion of "gunungen" during the Grebeg Maulud ritual, it is believed that they will be lucky in the coming year.
Purification of Inherited Treasures
The ritual of purifying inherited treasures, known as "Ngarumat Barang Pusaka," is one of the important events of the Maulid Nabi celebration. Among these treasures, there can be inherited weapons as well as instruments of the traditional Javanese Gamelan orchestra.
Residents of the Kalivungu sub-district in Kendal Regency, Central Java, celebrate the Prophet's Birthday in their own way. They adhere to the tradition of "weh-wehan" or "ketuwin," which involves exchanging food among neighbors.
Originally, "weh-wehan" was practiced only by the residents of the villages of Krayan Kulon and Kutoharjo in Kalivungu. However, recently this custom has spread to all areas.
Anthropologist Ibn Fikri from the State Islamic University of Walisongo in Semarang states that the "weh-wehan" tradition has been observed by the community for hundreds of years.
It all began with one of the spreaders of Islam in Kalivungu, Kyai Haji Asyari or Kyai Guru. During his time, he provided food to the village community as a sign of joy in connection with the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
In the Banuwangi Regency of East Java, residents have a special tradition of welcoming the celebration of the Prophet's Birthday through "Muludan." This tradition has existed since the late 18th century.
On the day of Maulid Nabi, a parade of carriages decorated with flowers takes place.
Preparing Belangong Sauce
In the Aceh province, there are various culinary delights that emerge during the celebration of the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday.
One of the most distinctive and integral parts of the birthday celebration in Aceh is the "beulangong" sauce. Beulangong sauce is a typical Acehnese dish, resembling a red curry, made with beef or goat meat and young jackfruit.
It's called "beulangong" sauce because it's prepared in a large pot or cauldron called "beulangong" in the Aceh province. This dish appears not only during the Prophet's Birthday but also during harvest festivals.
This ritual is conducted by the residents of the villages of Loram Kulon and Loram Vetan in the Jati sub-district, Kudus Regency, in Central Java.
The residents walk through the villages carrying stretchers filled with small rice packets wrapped in palm leaves. In addition to rice, they also carry a mound of fruits and vegetable products. All these items on the stretchers are collectively referred to as "ampyang."
The parade heads towards the mountains, where Muslim prayers are conducted. Afterward, the food is distributed to the residents.
Sacred Rice "Ulam Sari"
In Pasuruan, East Java, the residents have a special dish for celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday, namely the sacred rice "ulam sari."
In one package of "ulam sari" rice, there are two main elements: "nasi udok" rice and "ayam tukung" chicken.
"Nasi udok" rice is white in color and has a pleasant aroma. Its color and fragrance symbolize the birth of a child.
Boiled "ayam tukung" chicken is usually served whole on top of the rice.