Saturday, August 11, 2012

Berokan Season

It's berokan "season" now in Cirebon - when in villages around Gunungjati children and teenagers parade through the kampung collecting money. This is an extension of sort of obrog-obrogan - musical groups that parade through the kampung during the fasting month to wake up villagers for the pre-fast meal (saur) and then collect money on the day of Hari Raya. Some musical groups start parading in the late afternoon 2 or even 3 weeks before the fast ends - a practice that my friend the batik boss Pak Katura referred to (only half jokingly) as "illegal". The berokan groups follow this practice.

On the way to pick up my daughter who is studying batik this month with Pak Katura I passed 3 such berokan groups- two in the fishing village of Mertasinga just north of Gunungjati (I took a wrong turn there by mistake) and one in the village of Sarabau (pictured above). The Sarabau group had two rather spectacular berokan accompanied by a small orchestra of keyboard, gongs, ketuk and kecrek. A young boy, perhaps 8 years old, marched ahead of the group collecting money in a bucket. Most of the performers seemed to be between 10 and 20 years old. It created quite a lively atmosphere. I stopped to take a few quick pictures sitting on my motorcycle and donated all the change in my pocket to the group.

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