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Tedak Siten, First Step on Soil

Java is one Indonesia islands that have an abundant traditional rituals and myths. One of them called “Tedak Siten” or Earth Stepping. The ceremony is aimed for a baby girl or a boy who has been able to sit and prepare to their first step on soil. Soil for Javanese or Moslem has relationship with the beginning of human creation. Therefore, babies are not allowed to step on soil before they can sit or before their age reach 245 days. When a baby girl of baby boy has reached this age, they should pass a special ritual traditional ceremony called “Tedak Siten.”

Before the ceremony begin, parents should prepare sajen or offering which is symbolizing the grateful for God. The sajen is consist of 7 different color of glutinous rice (red, white, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet), a ladder that was made from sugar cane or also well-known as “tebu”, a decorated cock’s cage, books, money, jewelry, pen, cotton, and a bucket of water full of colourful flowers. These sajen is depicted blessing and protection from God in combating evil pr bad spirit.

Seven color of glutonous rice and a bucket of water that full with flowers are prepared by the parents of a baby before the ceremony begins. The grandparents of a baby will act as the leader of the ceremony.

The ceremony will begin in the morning. The grandma, grandpa or elderly of a child will be invited to come on the ceremony to give blessing for the child. After all guests has arrived, the ceremony begin with a child started to walk on 7 different color of delicacy (red, white, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet) made from glutinous rice (picture 1).

chinese tea

Parents guide their child to step on the first colour of glutonous rice. The moral message for the ritual is although there are many obstacles in life that a man/woman will be encountered in their life, they should overcome the obstacles.

The next ritual is step on ladder that was made from sugar cane or tebu. Tebu is used for the rituals because it represents all heart’s determination. When a child step the ladder it means he or she should walk in live with full of self-esteem and determination and can conquer every challenges in his or her live.

A ladder of cane sugar or tebu stepping that represents obtacles and challenges in life

After all the rituals, a child should be bathed in a bucket of water that full of flowers which consists of roses, jasmine, magnolia and cananga. Parent, elderly and guests in the ceremony will pray that a a child should always keep their family name as beautiful as flowers. In other words, he or she should behave as a good person and do not do any shameful thing that caused his or her family name become bad.

After taking a bath, a child will be dressed neatly. He or she will prepare to enter a decorated cage. Inside the cage she or he should make a choice on what she wants to be in a future.

Inside the cage, there are several items, such as writing-books, jeweleries, golden accessories- ring, necklace, bracelet, rice, cotton and other useful items. These items represents the future of a child. For example, the baby girl choose a golden bracelet which means she is hoped to be rich girl in future. If she chooses stationery of books it means that her future will lead her to be a lecturer or a teacher.

And finally the rituals of tedak siten ended with parents touching their baby girl foot on the soil for the first time in her life.

Touching her children foot on ground as the end of Tedak Siten ceremony. The moral message a a humanbeings we should not forget that we are made from soil and will be burried in soil when we die.

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