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Events and Ceremonies

The Ceremony of Robo-robo

Robo-robo is a routine ceremony performed by the society of Mempawah Kingdom on the last Wednesday in the month of Safar (Islamic month). It is called Robo-robo as it is held on the day of Wednesday (called “Rabu” in Indonesian language).

According to its history, the ceremony held to commemorate the arrival of Opu Daeng Menambon entitled Pangeran Mas Surya Negara from Matan Kingdom, Ketapang Regency to Mempawah Kingdom, Pontianak regency in 1737 AD/1448 AH. In addition, the ceremony was an effort to repel all misfortunes related to their belief that many misfortunes are derived in the month of Safar.

Opu Menambon Daeng (1695-1763) was the son of Daeng Rilekke Opu Tandre Borong, King of Luwu Kingdom in South Sulawesi, who was married to Princess Kesumba, the son from the couple Utin Indrawati (the daughter of Panembahan Senggaok, Mempawah) with Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin from Matan Tanjungpura Kingdom. The descendants of the daughter from this couple who were then became the kings who reigned the Kingdom of Mempawah.

After the death of Panembahan Senggaok (Indrawati Utin’s father) in 1737, Opu Daeng Menambon ascended to be entitled of Pangeran Mas Surya Negara. His reign lasted until 1761 and two years later he died and buried in Sebukit Rama.

Opu Daeng Mempawah Menambon brought huge impact in Mempawah. Besides spreading Islamic religion, he also directly helped to build Mempawah through his capacity as a King.  The arrival of Islamic religion did not immediately replace the existing religion, but gradually changed to it over his influence. In fact, he actually tried to embrace all the existed religions and held the interfaith tolerance among of them. 

Opu Menambon Daeng is also considered as the one who espoused the ethnic diversity in Mempawah. His arrival that brought various ethnicities provides its own lessons that the difference is not a barrier, precisely to be such a wealth of diversity that must be preserved. This is the value of interethnic and interreligious harmony that has been taught by Opu Daeng Menambon

The Implementation Ceremony of Robo-robo

The ceremony of Robo-robo is held on Mempawah River. The first ritual of the ceremony is sounding a call to prayer and followed by praying that led by the Indigenous Stakeholder of Amantubillah Palace, Royal Mempawah. After this procession is done, the next procession is Buang-buang, while the last is Makan Saprahan.

The King and all royal relatives are involved in this ceremony departing from Benteng village using boats called Lancang Kuning and Bidar. Lancang Kuning is special boat for the King, while the Bidar is for royal relatives. They sail for one hour into the estuary of Mempawah River located in Kuala Mempawah village, Pontianak Regency, West Kalimantan Province.

Arriving at the mouth of Mempawah River, one of royal relatives who serves as an Indigenous Stakeholder sound a call of prayer (azan) followed by a pray to get away all misfortunes. The next procession is Buang-buang, a procession of throwing the offerings into Mempawah River held after noon prayer. The offerings that consist of yellow rice, roasted rice, and incense have religious meanings on every each material. For the example, the yellow rice and roasted rice symbolize the prosperity and welfare, while incense symbolizes the blessing. The purpose of this ritual is a respect and recognition of the existence of the river and the sea as the sources of livelihood. In addition, it also aims to harmonize the societies and the nature. After performing the ritual of Buang-buang, the King and all royal relatives stay close to the side of Mempawah River to prepare the ritual of Makan Saprahan performed in the front of Palace.

Makan Saprahan is a procession of eating together in the front of Amantubillah Palace using the trays or platters and each tray or platter (called “saprah”) which contains of rice and side dishes is usually reserved for four until five person. This kind of procession symbolizes the togetherness among interethnic and religious diversities as there are no questions about their status, religion, and where they came from.

Another interesting thing in the ritual of Robo-robo is various royal and local cuisines serves, including white cooked chicken, lemongrass shrimp sauce, cucumber salad, spicy sour cooked fish, and white chicken soup. As the confectionary dessert are Sangon cake, Jorong cake, Bingke sweet potatoes, Putuh Buloh, and bananas, while for the drink is nutritious sherbet water that has a function to recover the stamina. Meanwhile, to enlive the ritual of Robo-robo, there are usually performed various local entertainments, such as Tundang (chanted rhymes), Jepin Dance, and Bidar boat racing.

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suparman jaya February 26, 2013 15:33

Nih...mau tanya kalau boleh tau apakah ada landasan hukum Islam dalam pelaksanaan Ritual Robo-robo? Bukankah dalam pelaksanaan tersebut jika tidak ada landasan hukum Islamnya merupakan perbuatan sirik? Tolong dong kasi komentarnya untuk saya jadikan refersnsi "thanks to Raja Menambon" dari keturunan Daeng Talib.