Grebeg Mulud

In this film many of the components of the grebeg Mulud celebration that took place on and during the days immediately preceding March 31, 2007, are documented. From the symbolically-rich ceremonial construction of the gunungan wadon (female rice-mountain offering) to the frenzied “distribution” of the gunungan offerings at the Mesjid Ageng (Great Mosque) and the palace of the Paku Alam (the secondary royal household of Yogyakarta), music of one sort or another contributes to the realization of this elaborate celebration that serves both to mark the birth of Mohammed and to reinforce principle relationships underlying the institution of Javanese kingship. In addition to the sounding of the palace’s two oldest and most revered gamelans, lesungan (rice-pounding music) and the Western-modeled marching music of the bragådå prajurit (the palace military units) are heard and situated in the flow of this grand ceremonial gesture. The thrice-yearly grebeg spectacles are arguably prime examples of the “theatre state” concept discussed elsewhere on this site.