Nia S. Amira
For most Indonesian people, especially the Javanese, Balinese and Maduranese have a tradition of making tumpeng or a cone yellow rice when they carry out a feast, to celebrate an important event. The meaning contained in a rice cone is closely linked to the geographical condition of Indonesia, especially Java, that surrounded by ring of fires or volcano. Cone is derived from the ancient tradition of Indonesian society which is the personification of Mount Mahameru in India, the dwelling place of the Hyang, or Gods and the place of ancestors. As it is known, the Javanese tradition is influenced by Hindu culture.
In its development, the cone is adopted and a s s o c i ated with the philosophy of Islam since the 1 3 t h century, mainly in Java. At that time, the cone is regarded as the ancestral message regarding the request t o the Almighty. In the tradition of festivity amongst the Javanese it is known Slametan or where tumpeng presented by earlier prayer in according with the teachings of Islam. According to Javanese Islamic tradition, Tumpeng is the acronym in Javanese, namely: yen metu kudu sing mempeng (when exit must earnestly). Tumpeng has its friend made of sticky rice called Buceng which means when someone or something enters it must be signed in very fast.
Side dishes that usually accompany tumpeng said to be 7 which named pitu in Javanese language or Pitulungan or Help from God and it derives from 3 words which came from a prayer in Surah al-Isra verses 80: According to some ulemas, this prayer was recited by Prophet Muhammad when he must move from the city of Mecca to Madinah. The intention to make tumpeng is asking for help from the Almighty and to obtain the goods and avoid all the evils, then reaching the glory from someone who gave the aid.
Tumpeng is an important part in the celebration of traditional feast. It has the value of gratitude and celebration, in nowadays tumpeng often replaces the function of a birthday cake when someone celebrates her/his birthday.
Indonesian people used to call this tumpeng as ‘tumpengan’. In Yogyakarta and other cities in Java, people always provide tumpengan on the evening before the 17th of August that is marked as the Indonesian Independence Day, and on that occasion the elders together young generation perform their prayer in front of Tumpeng to pray for the good sake of the country and the nation.
After praying, the top cone which is usually cooked in yellow color cut out and given to the most important, most honored, or most senior among the attendees. It is meant to show the respect to the said person. All the people who present were invited to taste the rice. It is an expression of gratitude to the Almighy as well as to celebrate togetherness and harmony.