Religious Ritual and Society

Title : RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND SOCIETY (Cirebonese People’s Reasons for Practicing the Jumatan in the Grave of Sunan Gunung Djati and Its Significance to Others)
Author : Burhanudin Sanusi (CRCS, 2005)
This research is aimed at investigating the relationship between the Jumatan ritual that is regularly performed in the grave of Sunan Gunung Djati, Cirebon, West Java and Cirebonese society. However, it is not going to look comprehensively into the root of the Jumatan in context of its historical or political backgrounds. The Jumatan is based on belief in the spirit of Sunan that is well known or called berkah (blessing), which is believed coming directly from God and can help the participant’s life problems. In order to get the connection, the study focuses on the participants’ reasons for practicing the Jumatan that would make sure the construction of the Jumatan, its significance for Cirebonese’s life, and its existence or continuation. Every Thursday night (malam Jum’at) thousands people, who have different reasons, ethnicities, and even religious backgrounds come to the grave to practice the Jumatan. Some of them come from other regions such as Tegal, Brebes, Majalengka, Bandung, Subang, Karawang, and Jakarta. In term of their reasons is also varies: economy, health, marriage, career, and family.

To develop this study, the research uses literature and field resources. The literature research is dealing with written resources that are valuable in developing the study of the Jumatan. It includes ritual studies that is conducted in different societies, but has some similarities with the Jumatan. The filed research however is accomplished after collecting some written data and is based on in depth interview. It serves to reconstruct the participant’s of the Jumatan, accidents, activities, feelings, motivations, and demands. In addition, the Jumatan has many symbolic meanings and should be approached through ethnographical studies, which to understand another way of life from the native point of view.

The continuation of the Jumatan relates to the belief in the spirit of Sunan and the interests of society. This point is the most important part to make sure the subsistence of the Jumatan. The participants give an attention in the ritual because it accommodates their life problems. Regarding the reason, no participant of the Jumatan has religious reason, but worldly (or secular) reason, and is personal, does not emphasize social solidarity among them. The Jumatan is meaningful ritual depending on the way people deal with. For the participant it has religious or sacred meaning and for non-participant, however, it can economic or social importance.

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