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Wonderful Torch War


no picture Achmad
Member since October 9, 2013
  • 36 Posts

Perang Obor (Torch War)

Perang Obor (Torch War)

As a young man who is passionate about history and culture, I try to explore all Indonesian cultures. Although Indonesia has diverse cultures, I don’t stop my to understanding the details of some of the wonderful cultures. My unforgettable experience on watching Perang Obor or the war of the torch, I was impressed by how dangerous this culture is still allowed to be conducted. This tradition is from the Jepara Municipality, Central Java. It was very harmful because the war used a torch to dry coconut leaves. I thought that it was not a logical war and gave negative feedback to executors and participants. Because of dangerous actions, I attempted to remain appreciative of the valuable message of the above. Apparently, watching it for a long time, I was wonder stricken to understand this tradition in detail. I just said “how wonderful this war is!”

I realized that everything contained a valuable lesson. Here, my exploration about the history and culture of the torch war was starting. The event was carried out by the leader of the Tegal Sambi Village, known as Kiai Babadan and his follower, Ki Gemblong. There was a conflict between Kiai Babadan and Ki Gemblong because Ki Gemblong ignored his responsibility on grazing Kiai Babadan’s cattles. As the result, all cattles were thin and got sick. Finally, this attitude was recognized and it angered Kiai Babadan. Then, he took and burned the dry coconut leaves. He attacked Ki Gemblong until a marvel ensued. A marvel as all cattles could be healthy. Perhaps the story was not considerably logical, but it was a folklore that helped to maintain the culture of being sustainable. Like the mentioned above, I couldn’t judge whether this story was true or not. I should appreciate all humankind who helped to conserve this culture until being well known at the national and international level. In addition, this event was conducted by the local government of Jepara to promote the tourism objects and cultures they had. On the other hand, the war of the torch was committed to give alms to the earth in order to avoid the various diseases and other calamities. This story gave me an imperative message to be a responsible one as we had a responsibility. From the above, I realize that as young leaders in the future, I should consider a local wisdom and culture, that perhaps it will help protect a culture of being lost. To preserve the war of torch, the government of Jepara starts to engage local youth on celebrating this event annually. Apparently, this way was obstructed by less of awareness towards the war torch maintenance.

The oddest thing is that many foreigners have been interested and have learned about the torch war. They have developed and promoted this culture in their countries. I am so sad to learn that this condition is due to the ignorance of the next generation towards the torch war.

Should I move forward individually to engage youth on preserving the war of torch? Should I allow my culture to be hacked? All these questions are rhetorical to me. Perhaps, the answers are NO. However, I endeavor to preserve it by actively involving the cultural programme of Perang Obor held by Jepara’s government. Yet, I have promoted and introduced it in some national events in Indonesia. To engage more young people, the local government has executed a cultural education in all levels of schools especially to the war of torch. This way gets great appreciation of all certain stakeholders, concerning in cultural maintenance of Jepara municipality. Finally, I am grateful to God and then to Jepara’s government to bringing about how a wonderful torch war is on save. I can conclude that the culture is on you and me. Let’s ignite the spirit of cultural conservation!

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