Today’s article was contributed by my younger sister who recently got a job offer and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. Amid her busy schedule, she found time to write and share some tidbits of her life there. I hope you like it.
Last Tuesday, April 16, 2013 was marked one month of our moving to new office. As usual with the new office, the team has planned for small celebration so they ordered a “nasi tumpeng” and a tray of cakes mixtures.
Nasi Tumpeng is a cone shape rice with assorted dishes which is served in traditional Indonesian-Javaness style for important celebration. The cone shaped representing mountain that was symbol of holy mountain refer back to ancient Indonesian tradition that revered mountains as the abode of ancestors and gods. The yellow rice was cooked with tumeric which represents heapful of gold, wealth, abundance and high moral.
The composition of the assorted dishes surrounding the rise can be meat, vegetables and some seafood. I am not sure if the one we had, was a traditional Javanese tumpeng which was supposed to be more complex where all the elements must balance one another according to the Javanese belief, the concept of the peace of mind, connection with the universe, and with an Almighty God. The feast was served in a rounded woven bamboo container that was covered with finely cut banana leaf, and decorated with simple cut of cucumbers. It consists of fried chicken, “sambal goreng udang” or prawn cooked in chili souce, vegetable dish, beef curry, “telur pindang” or boiled marble egg with chilli, “tempe pedas” or sweet and spicy fermented soy product, “perkedel kentang” or fried potato bun.
Our new office celebration followed a more traditional Indonesian style of celebration, that is a combination of gratitude, and request for blessing celebration. This type of celebration is started with short prayer to God/s then the cut of the tip of “tumpeng” to be given to the most important person.
The rice was a bit dried due to exposure of the air, so people started to dig the middle portion to eat, the dishes were spicy but delicious. It has been awhile since I had my “nasi tumpeng”, and was very delighted to again participate in this type of celebration. As technology advance in this modern society, there is still time and place to observe and enjoy traditions to remind us who we are.