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Important Yogyakarta Festivals
Grebeg Syawal Gerebeg Besar Sekaten
Gerebeg Mulud Labuhan Ceremony Tanggap Warsa Suro
Pitcher Filling Saparan Art Festival

Relgious Ceremonies

Gerebeg Syawal Ceremony
Held yearly on the 1st day of the 10th month of the Javanese calendar (Syawal) at the end of Ramadhan, (see schedule) the Muslim holy month of fasting, Gerebeg Syawal is the celebration held to commenorate the completion of the Muslim faithful's fasting duties. The ceremony is similar to the Gerebeg Mulud ceremony with its colourful Gunungan procession from the Kraton to the Grand Mosque (see below).

Gerebeg Besar
Held yearly at the Sultan's Palace on the 10th day of the last month of the Javanese calendar (Besar) to commenorate Abraham's test of faith when challenged to sacrifice his one and only son. The celebration is held on Idul As'ha (an Indonesian National Holiday) with Muslim's slaughtering goats and cows and then distributing the meat and giving alms to their poorer brethern.

Sekaten Ceremony
Held yearly beginning on the 5th day of the 3rd month of the Javanese calender (Mulud), and extending for one week and culminating with the Gerebeg Maulud Ceremony (below). Sekaten commenorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Beginning at midnight a procession of royal servants, Abdi Dalem, leaves from the Kraton Ponconiti Hall and marches two abreast carrying two sets of gamelan named Kyai Nogowilogo and Kyai Gunturmadu down Jl. Malioboro to the Grand Mosque. The two sets of gamelan are played simultaneously until the 11th day of Mulud when they are returned to the Kraton at midnight. Yogyanese believe that by celebrating Sekaten and in particular listening to gamelan they will be rewarded with good health and prosperity.

Gerebeg Mulud Ceremony
Gerebeg Maulud is the climax of Sekaten. Held yearly on the 12th day of the 3rd month of the Javanese calender, the Grebeg Maulud ceremony commences in the morning with the Palace Guards in traditional uniforms parading a Gunungan (a mountain shaped cone of rice surrounded by fruits, vegetables, eggs, peanuts and so on symbolising the prosperity of the Mataram Kingdom) from the Kraton to the Great Mosque on Jl. Malioboro After prayers at the Mosque are finished, the rice cone is cut and the food distributed to those in attendance.

Labuhan Ceremony
Held yearly in April to celebrate the birth of Sri Sultan Hamenkubuwono as well as to secure the welfare of the Sultan and hence the people of Yogyakarta. The word Labuh means to throw something into a river or sea. As such offerings from the Sultan include food, hair and nail clippings and so on are thrown into the South Sea at Parangkusumo Beach in honour of Kanjeng Ratu Kidul (Goddess of the South Sea). Similar ceremonies are held atop Mt. Merapi and Mt. Lawu in Central Java. Start times for the festivities will be announced in the local papers.

Tanggap Warsa Suro
Held each year during the first month of the Javanese calendar (Suro) this ceremony celebrates the Javanese New Year with extravagent wayang kulit (leather puppet) and other dance performances.

Pitcher Filling Ceremony
Another ceremony held each year in the first month of the Javanese calender (Suro) is the Pitcher Filling ceremony at Imogiri (the Royal Cementary). The people of Imogiri believe that water brings good fortune and fill 4 large, bronze vessels with water then place them at the entrance to the cemetary. The pitchers are from Myanmar (Nyai Siem); Rome (Kyai Mendong); Aceh (Kyai Danumoyo) and Palembang (Nyai Danumurti).

Saparan Ceremony
An offering ceremony held yearly in the second month of the Javanese calender (Sapar) by the the people in Ambarketawang, Gamping (approximately 7km to the west of Yogyakarta). At one time, locals of Ambarketawang made their living digging limestone that is believed to be some 50 million years old. Nowadays the limestone is mostly gone (or too hard to find) but the people still believe that they must make offerings to the area to advoid calamity. So early on offering day the residents make a procession of offerings to the area culminating when a Bekakak (bride and groom dolls made of sticky rice filled with red sugar syrup) are beheaded.

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Please be advised that this page is updated monthly for the succeeding two months ie. for events in July please check back in June.

Yogyakarta Festivals & Events September & October 2011
September Festivals

Dates : 01 - 30 September, 2011
Place : Purawisata Jl. Brigjen Katamso, Yogyakarta
Description :
Ramayana Ballet is a beautiful, enchanting and unrivalled performance that could combine the diversity of Javanese arts in forms of dance, drama and music in one stage that at the same time could deliver Ramayana story in four stages: Sinta's abduction, Anoman's mission to Alengka, Kumbarkana's death and the happy ending when Rama meets Sinta again. This show has received the award for making a record of 25 year stripping show from MURI (Indonesia documentary record museum).


Dates : 01 - 30 September, 2011
Place : Alun Alun Kidul (Southern square of Sultan's palace), Yogyakarta
Description :
Try to walk as if you're blind by closing your eyes to get into the middle of two banyan tress at southern square of Sultan's palace. If you're lucky, you might be able to proceed smoothly. However, many people end up to far deviation at that process inviting many laughs. For more joy and fun, challenge your friends to do the same same thing and compare the results.


Dates : 01 - 30 September, 2011
Place : Purawisata Jl. Brigjen Katamso, Yogyakarta
Description :
Dangdut is a very popular music stream in Indonesia that is a mixture of traditional, Arabian, Indian and proto malay. The attractive part is at the entertaining rhytm, beauty of the singers and body movement following the rhytm in particular. Purawisata comes with different Malay music assemble and singer every single day.


Dates : 07, 14, 21, 28 September, 2011
Place : Keraton Yogyakarta Jl. Rotowijayan No. 1, Yogyakarta
Description :
Wayang Golek is a wooden puppet art show which is so popular in West Java.


Dates : 08, 15, 22, 29 September, 2011
Place : Keraton Yogyakarta Jl. Rotowijayan No. 1, Yogyakarta
Description :
Seeing Javanese philosophy through music. That's the valuable thing that you'll experience by watching this cultural performance at this special place. Listening to the gamelan rhytm can be best described as listening to a harmony relaxing your mind and soul.

October Festivals

Dates : 01 - 05 October, 2011
Place : Jogja Expo Center, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Description :
Yogyakomtek is the exhibition for IT and Computer industry in Indonesia. The event will showcase latest products, services and technologies that will cover an array of hardware, software, computer components, peripherals, multimedia and networking technologies. The Yogyakomtek will be held at the Jogjakarta Expo Center on dated 01-05 October 2011.


Dates : 01 - 31 October, 2011
Place : Museum Sonobudoyo Jl. Trikora No. 6 Yogyakarta
Description :
Wayang kulit (leather puppet) is a magnificent artwork of Javanese art performance that has received acknowledgment from UNESCO. A dalang (wayang player) plays puppet made from buffalo's leather behind a white screen. Hence, the audience can only see the shadow. That's exactly the reason why it's called "wayang" meaning shadow in English. The attractive parts of the show lie on the dynamic movement of dalang at playing different roles of wayang, changing the voice character, his jokes and even his singing.

ASEM Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Workshop on National OSH Strategies

Dates : 12 - 13 October, 2011
Place : Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Description :
The 2nd Asia-Europe Meeting Labour and Employment Ministers' Conference (ASEM-LEMC) that was held in Indonesia in 2008, adopted the Bali Declaration on More and Better Jobs - Strategic Cooperation to Promote Decent Work and Global Labour Markets to our Mutual Benefit. The Declaration recommended the conduct of projects to improve the exchange of experiences, expertise and good practice as well as enhance capacity building through technical cooperation. One such area identified during the Conference was Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), in which Indonesia and Singapore will be taking the lead. Indonesia and Singapore will be co-organising an ASEM OSH workshop focusing on sharing good practices and experiences in the development and implementation of national OSH strategies.

Invesda Expo

Dates : 13 - 16 October, 2011
Place : Jogja Expo Center, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Description :
Invesda Expo is one of the most prominent exhibitions in the country on national and international real estate and property development projects. Being organized by Graha Pradipta Jogja Expo Center, the event will be held between 13-16 October 2011 at the Jogjakarta Expo Center.


Dates : 08 - 21 October, 2011
Place : Start: Abu Bakar Ali, Finish: Alun - alun Utara
Description :
Every October 7, the people of Yogyakarta has always celebrated the anniversary of his hometown.In 2011 Yogyakarta will celebrate its 255 anniversary. Beginning with a series of activities such as Jogja Mozaik Parade and Villages Festival. Peak of Yogyakarta anniversary will be celebrated with Jogja Java Carnival at October 22 2011. Jogja Java Carnival that carries the brand image: Night Carnival (carnival at night), street performance (performance will always be performed during the carnival run by using the street as the stage area), a mobile floating (stage area that runs embodied in a vehicle as part of stage area), and international participant (involvement of participants from abroad) is expected to become an icon of Yogyakarta tourism event.

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Yogyakarta Hotels - wayang kulit
Yogyakarta Religious Festivals 

There are any number of important religious & cultural ceremonies that take place throughout the year in Yogyakarta.

As you wiil note, ceremonies are scheduled according to the Javanese calender. The Javanese calender was developed by Sultan Agung, of the Mataram Islam Kingdom, during the 16th century and is a blend of the Caka (Hindu) calender and Arabic (Islamic) calender.

For your information festivals are named for the month or time of year the celebration is held. For example, the word Grebeg literally means the noise of people cheering while the word Syawal, Mulud etc. refers to the month the festival is being held.

Also be advised that Islamic religious holidays are based on a lunar calendar and the dates change yearly.

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