On 15th of January we had our seventh month baby shower. It’s a traditional Javanese ceremony to pray for the well being of the mother and the baby, because, practically, after 7th month, the baby could be born anytime.
Ibu Tuti arrived the day before with heavy suitcases containing all the necessities for the ceremony, from spices to food, because she wanted to minimize the hassle of cooking traditional food in Singapore. She also brought a carved coconut that represents the womb.
She even brought a big bamboo cone to be used to shape up the rice into a Tumpeng (Rice Cone). On Saturday morning, we and the mothers went to Tanglin Halt market to have breakfast (prata and ham chim beng) and buy fresh vegetable for the ceremony. In the early afternoon we started to heat all the traditional food that Ibu Tuti brought as well as cooking the fresh veggies we bought in the morning. Meanwhile, Yodhi and Dimas were downstairs trying to flame the charcoal to roast the spicy chicken. It was one helluva work to set up fire into an old charcoal and to fan it continuously to keep the flame burning.
At 3pm the guests – our Indonesian friends and relatives and their children too – started to arrive. While Indi was preparing the holy water with three types of flower, I was getting dressed in my shower garb. After all the guests were in, we started with recitation of prayers led by Tante Nunik. Terra (Wicak’s daughter) was busy playing hide-and-seek under the table when we’re praying.
After the prayer, we continued outside the house for the most exciting part of the ceremony: The Shower! Ibu Wies started to pour the holy water all over my body and continued with Ibu Tuti, Ibu Cipluk, Mbak Ami (Judhi’s Wife), Mbak Lina (Andre’s Wife), Mbak Ratna, and lastly, Indi, who was obviously having fun while pouring the water. Lucky the water was warmed.
Right after the shower, we rolled the coconut from the top of the shower garb and let it out from the bottom of the belly, symbolizing a hope for smooth delivery process. Amen to that!
The ceremony continued by having me changing garments seven times, while the guests will scream that they were all ugly-looking garments. Finally, in the eighth times, the guest will scream out that it was the most beautiful fabric I wore. I am not sure what this part of ceremony is all about.
Indi continued with cutting the coconut and analyzing how the water came out of the nut. If the coconut water sprouts out like a fountain, then the baby is going to be a boy. If the water just spills or dribbles down without sprouting, then the baby is going to be a girl. In our case, the water sprouted out each time Indi slammed the knife against the coconut. Both of us then drank the sweet coconut water.
The ceremony was closed with us cutting the rice cone. The guests continued to have proper lunch, all were traditional Indonesian cuisine imported direct from Jakarta!
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