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School of Javanese Culture in Senden opens doors to students across Asia


School of Javanese Culture students take part in an event to welcome the tobacco harvest season. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

BOYOLALI, Central Java, Indonesia – Several lecturers of a Javanese study program at the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, University of Indonesia (UI), have initiated the School of Javanese Culture, located in Senden village in Boyolali, Central Java.

The program was officially launched on Aug. 1 in conjunction with Tumbuk Tembakau, a celebration that welcomes the harvest season for tobacco, the village’s main agricultural commodity. The program will last until September.

Prior to the arrival of invited students from Indonesia and other Asian countries, a team from UI recruited village residents to teach in the program and prepared teaching material.

“The School of Javanese Culture was initially established to involve Senden village residents. It is a pilot project that the village residents can hopefully continue to run independently,” said Widhyasmaramurti, the principal of the school.

He said that Senden village had the potential to open its doors to a wider community, allowing others to immerse themselves in Javanese culture.

“This village still retains Javanese customs and culture within the community, with the picturesque view of Mount Merabi’s and Merbabu’s slopes in the background,” said the school principal.

Thirty-nine students from countries across Asia, including Tajikistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, were the first to enroll in the program.

They are to live in the houses of the Senden people, study basic Javanese language, learn to play the gamelan and learn the Reog Jathilan, a traditional Senden dance. The students will also take part in farming activities, visit a copper center and attend the Tungguk Tembakau celebration held in the village.

To learn the Javanese language, the students presented the Ketoprak, a traditional Javanese theatrical performance, at the Tungguk Tembakau celebration. They performed on an open stage in the middle of Senden village, depicting the Ande-Ande Lumut folktale.

School of Javanese Culture students play the gamelan for the Tungguk Tembakau event. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Students performed as actors, gamelan players and Reog Jathilan dancers. Despite the language barrier, the audience found the performance refreshingly entertaining.

Sajid Islam, a School of Javanese Culture student from Bangladesh, said he was impressed with the Senden people.

“It was an amazing experience. I learned many new things from the daily lives of the people here,” he said.

Sajid, who took part in the Reog Jathilan dance at Tumbuk Tembakau, said he admired the beauty of nature in the village and was touched by the locals’ hospitality. (anm/mut)

From: THE JAKARTA POST (Indonesia)  Saturday August 11, 2018

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