Pangkak : Traditional Ceremony from Kangean Island, Madura, East Java, Indonesia

Sumenep regency is the east most regency of in Madura Island. 99 miles from Sumenep there is an island, called Kangean Island.  This island can be reached in 7 hours ferry trip. This island has various interesting things to learn, and one of them is Pangkak traditional ceremony from Kalikatak village.

This tradition was initiated by a unique ceremony of Kangean inhabitants. They usually harvest paddy together as gratefulness to God.  This ritual is mixed of religious, arts, and society daily activities. Pangkak ceremony is not a big ceremonial event as in Sumenep in general. But this event features humbleness, unique, is a togetherness event and Pangkak is non mystical ceremony.

According to elders of Kangean, there are stages from proposing a woman  to wedding day. Parents from both sides should make an agreement without known by the couple as tradition. It said that since the past arranged marriage is between relatives so that family ties will not break and becomes stronger.

According to local habit, parents of boys usually will look at girls from their close relatives. Both parents then meet and propose the girl. After they make deal, parents of the boy come to the girl parents house and bring coffee and sugar and asking formally for the girl, thou they already know that the girl has no one with her. The temporary answer from the girl’s parent is that they say thanks for the visit. After meeting with elders, they then make a return visit to the boy’s parents and say formally that they agree with the proposal.

Later the parents of the boy come again to girl’s parent and bring banana and nagasari. The food carried have important meaning. There are two kind of banana they bring, young banana and ripe banana. Young banana symbolizes that the marriage will be long lasting. While ripe banana symbolizes that the marriage will be held soon. Nagasari derives from asare means looking. As the proposal is accepted, the next day the boy goes to the girl house bringing woods as sign that he has visited or dated her (asanjhe). Later after engagement, then time to plant paddy. Usually girl’s parent make party and invite also parents of the boy. Invitees bring rice and spices when attend.

The next day, they go to their ancestors graves to ask for good day and then they together farming and plant paddy. After paddy is older, then they build hut as shelter while waiting for harvest time (arangge). When paddy is yellow, the farmers guard the paddy and use hut as shelter every day until paddy is ready to harvest.

When harvest time comes and the harvest is good, they hold Pangkak performance. Pangkak is performed by men while women watch while harvesting the paddy. Pangkak is music from mouth, with dance. Villagers happier with the performance that they have spirit to finish the work.

Pangkak was practice by locals a,d they dressed carefully for this ceremony by wearing red sarong, white blouse and blangko (sengel). After the harvest, the paddy then transported by horse in parade. Afterwards parents of the girl plan the wedding day. They then inform the boy family about the wedding date.  After around one month before the wedding, boy’s family holds Pepenta’an. Pepenta’an event invites close neighbors and relatives, usually held in the afternoon. They carry cookies such as rengginang or house hold items and eccompanied by local tradition, Gendeng Dumek.

The next day, girl’s family visit the boy’s family for bebelesan. Later the wedding procession is held and celebrated. The next event is Panganten Atolo, the groom goes to the bride family house with neighbors parade, usually is done at night. 5 meters from the door, the groom enter the house with squad position and then shake the bride’s parents, his parents in law. The bride is waiting in her room and the invitees yelling when the groom entered the bride’s room.

The next day is Kokocoran, and entertainment held in the afternoon which families and relatives dance circle the newly-wed couple and accompanied by gamelan. The second night, there are other performances such as Macopat (melle’an) and the couple may not sleep to listen to macopat sweet song called kapotren.

Pangkak is defined as paddy harvest ceremony. Pangkak means cut in Madurese. Here are the preparations of Pangkak :

-Preparing invitations and the spread the invitations. The more invitees attent the more pride the land /sawah owner feel.
-Preparing offering and equipment
-Asking leader for this ritual, usually elder of the village.

After all prepared, the event then held on full moon where invitees gather in the middle of sawah wearing bright striking colors. Men carrying paddy and women cutting paddy and the leader says prayer. Afterwards. followed by dancing and singing session.

Dances performed are:

1. Ngagga Manok (Drive Away Bird) Dance

2. Ronjhengan  (Pound Rice) Dance

The dance is accompanied by Saronen (Folks instruments) , Ronjangan (long wooden mortar) and pestle.