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Merti Dusun Cerme


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A. Overview

In Selopamioro Village is found one traditional ceremony called Perti Dusun held in the court of Cerme Cave located in Hamlet Srunggo I and Srunggo II. The term "Perti Dusun" comes from the word of “Petri” (abbreviated from memayu, memetri, memerti) that means to beautify or to preserve.

This traditional ceremony has been initiated from a legend. Once, in Saka year of 387, the King of Giringlaya Kingdom, Harnaya Renda, was saddened by disaster that befell to His people. The plague, drought, and famine were inside the country. Under some advices from His retainer, the King asked for help from Resi Hadidari in Ngandong Dadapan Village. He was then suggested that the entire villages must make everything clean thoroughly at the beginning of the year. After carrying out that advice, the country’s state was getting better.

According to this legend, the people are ultimately making religious ceremony called Perti Dusun, also known as a charity of the earth or cleaning village as a symbol or an offering to the first ruler on the village. Of the name that was gradually changed to Merti Dusun has been indicated to have a relation with Wali Sanga (the nine Islamic scholars) who first gave the name of Cerme Cave. Myths that are spread in the community told that Cerme Cave was once used as a place of deliberation of Wali Sanga concerning the development of Islam in Java and the establishment of the Mosque of Demak. The Cave was chosen because there turban of Sunan Kalijaga was found. Originally the cave was named Cermin Cave, but it is famously known as Cerme Cave.

In the past, the ceremony was only attended by the residents of Srunggo Hamlet because there the cave is located. Before performing the ceremony, the community must slaughter one buffalo for the ceremonial dishes. When the day of ceremony comes, each family went to Cerme Cave bringing Sego udhuk (type of cooked rice with coconut), side dishes and buffalo meat. Gradually, the ceremony was performed and attended by all the residents of the village, exclusively not special for Srunggo Hamlet only.

B. Features

The ceremony of Merti Dusun is held at the courtyard of Cerme Cave once a year with the calculation of Javanese calendar, precisely on Sunday Pahing in the month of Suro (Muharram). When there is no Sunday Pahing in the month of Suro, it will be held on the previous month at the same day. The ceremony is usually begun in the morning (09.00 am) and finished until noon, which generally performed during the main harvest as a symbol of thanksgiving to the Almighty God, so people will always be given His blessings of salvation, peace, happiness in carrying out daily duties.

The equipment used to carry the offering was initially using jatingarang, but later on it was changed by using jodhang. As for the special place of Sego udhuk, people use basket of woven bamboo and box made of paper for the place of rice and side dishes.

The offerings are brought to the courtyard of Cerme Cave under the sequence of the carrier of jodhang that should be the first road ahead, and then followed by the residents who dressed in traditional clothes and followed by the carrier of box containing the offerings. The main event of the ceremony is praying together led by the chief followed by planting the head of buffalo wrapped in cloth that assisted by the keeper of the cave. Once those were completed, the event is continued with eating together or known as dhahar kembul.

The offerings that used in the ceremony of Merti Dusun contain Tasty Rice (Nasi Udhuk), Golong Rice, Liwet Rice, Ingkung Chicken, Bufallo’s head, Snack Market, Sanggah Bananas, Sekar Konyoh, Golong Luhut, Tumpeng Menggono, and Tumpeng Robyong.

C. Location

The traditional ceremony of Merti Dusun is always held in Srunggo Hamlet, Selopamioro Village, Bantul Regency, Special District of Yogyakarta (DIY). Selopamioro village is located 6 km south of the capital Imogiri Subdistrict, Bantul Regency.

D. Access

The village is located approximately 15 km to the northeast of Bantul, with the mileage of 90 minutes. We can use a private vehicle or public transportation.

E. Ticket Price

To watch Merti Dusun Cerme is free of charges. We are only required to keep regularity and orders during the ceremony and keep clean around the site.

F. Accommodation and Other Facilities

There are not many facilities around the venue of Merti Dusun Cerme. There are only few stalls that offer snacks and foods. Merti Dusun Cerme also presents some entertainments in the form of jathilan, Shalawatan, leather puppet show, which also became tourist attraction.


Text: Eko Wahyu

English translation: M. Noer Said

Photo source: The Collection of Jogjatrip.com

(Primary data and various sources)

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