The Tidar Mountain located in the center of Magelang, Central Java, has been known as “the crater of candradimuka” (famous crater in the Mahabharata legend, into which the gods thrown Bhima’s son Gatotkaca—as a baby—and he became invincible) for Military Academy cadets with their legendary drum band troupe, Macan Tidar, or the Tidar Tiger. The Tidar region has been recognized as the main reserve of leaders for the Indonesian National Army (TNI).

As a matter of fact, the oral history developed in the community has told that, if the island of Java is folded, then the Mount Tidar would be located right on the middle. A notion later arisen that Tidar Mountain is the pakuning (paku is nail in Javanese and Indonesian) of the land of Java. Based on this view, reputedly, the military academy was then established in the valley of Tidar.

Nevertheless, something was different on that day, Saturday, May 14, 2011. The Carnival of Paku Tidar participated by 23 art groups from the city and regencey of Magelang, has melt away the “eeriness” of Mount Tidar.

Diverse traditional art groups which have become somewhat counter-culture for the establishment of keratin art and have now been known much, such as the grasak dance, warok bocah, dayaan, jingkrak (prancing) sundang, and topeng ireng (black mask), performed enthusiastically despite the heavy rains.
Prior to the carnival, a spiritual ritual of Mount Tidar was conducted by saying a prayer at the tomb of Sheikh Subakir led by an artist from Magelang, ES Wibowo. Potpourri of red and white roses, kantil, jasmine, cananga (ylang-ylang), champaka, and betel leaves was spread at the tomb of the grave.
In their prayers, the artists drew an imaginary line from the summit of Mount Tidar to the zero kilometer point in front of the Liong Hok Bio Shrine (Magelang’s city square) where the line was believed to be a bridge for uniting people. “This is an effort and a hope for a peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous Magelang,” said ES Wibowo.

Such ritual, which was called Suluk Gunung Tidar, performed at the grave of a significant figure to mark an age, has been conducted at the graves of Kyai Semar, Prabu Purbowo, Kiai Sepanjang, and Sheikh Subakir. “The location of the mountain in the center of the city is extraordinary, being the source of life, a reserve of living. We therefore have to preserve its environment,” Wibowo said.

Once the carnival entourage arrived in Magelang city square, the event was continued with art performances and cultural oration by the caregivers of Pondok Pesantren (Islamic School) of Tegalrejo in Magelang, KH Muhammad Yusuf Chudlori (better known as Gus Yusuf) and Magelang’s Deputy Mayor, Joko Prasetyo.
Gus Yusuf said in his oration that the event was a gathering of kinship between government officials, religious communities and various elements of the society to bond and build mutual respect for each other. “It’s a sign that people still love the Garuda Pancasila (the symbol of the state) and the Unity in Diversity (the national slogan),” he said aloud.


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