Traditional Dismissal Ceremony by the Sasak Tribe

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Written by Aditya Tri Hutama Posted 25th November 2014, 12:07pm
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Translated by Shinta Dharmayu

One of the native tribes in Lombok is called the Sasak, still preserves the traditions and customs of their ancestors even in this modern day era. One of the many traditions still preserved is an old tradition called ‘Metulak’ Tradition. Metulak is commonly known by the Sasak which means a ceremony of dismissal reinforcements in rural areas they are living in. Metulak is an uptake from "Me" and "Tulak", which both means to give meaning again. According to custom religious advisors from the Sasak, this tradition remains preserved to reject disasters that might come into their village. Various types of disaster commonly known as diseases, crop pests in rice fields and interference spirits.

Along with the modernization in time and new religious beliefs that are presented to the Sasak, this tradition is also transformed in terms of religious and ceremonial order. Until now, Islam came to fill the elements of Islam in every Metulak ceremony.

The time and procedure of the Metulak ceremony is held adapted to important events that occurred in the village. There are certain codes by nature that are discovered by the indigenious religious advisors that gives them ahead of time to prepare for the ceremony. Some events that can be used as a benchmark to perform the Metulak ceremony such as if one of the residents or family of this village is sick, that creates outbreak or even an infectious disease in rural or a paddy pest attack. Metulak are also held in celebration activities such as building houses, procession of departing for Hajj and hair cutting of newborns. Metulak is present in the midst of the Sasak community to bless and ask for the safety of the inner and outer to the Creator. Readers also need to know that the Metulak process is for 2 days in a row,so the whole process of the ceremony is long enough.

Metulak will be led by a core team consisting of a village chief called a “Datu”, religious advisors and scholars or clerics. Three of these important representatives have their own tasks to make the process much easier. For the Datu, he is to officiate the ceremony process. The religious advisors have the duty to summon the spirit of the Sasak ancestors and scholars or clerics are tasked to lead the prayers. Metulak itself usually done with the person who has the intent of the event, it could be on the porch of their house or in one of the fields in the village.

Family and relatives must be present to be blessed together. The terms and conditions to follow this ceremony is to bring empty bottles and coins as much as 9 pieces for ceremonial requirements. For the bottles will be filled with water that has been prayed by the cleric. Later, the water that has been prayed for can be washed away or drunk by the families who have been affected in anyway.