The Mitoni: seven months pregnancy ceremony in Javanese culture

The Mitoni Ritual

Mitoni comes from a Pitu word. Pitu means the number seven, then it becomes the word Pitulungan. Pitulungan has a sense of begging for help from God. So Mitoni is a ritual which aims to implore an aid to God so that the embryo and its mother are healthy.

The Mitoni ritual, also known as Tingkeban, is performed when a woman is pregnant with her first child and has spent seven months. Generally, it is organized on Wednesday or Saturday, the 13-15 of Javanese calendar, but do not pass the date of 15.

This ceremony is organized at their home, at the woman’s parents, or at the man’s parents.

According to the theme, there are seven stages in this ceremony:

1| Sungkeman

The woman and her husband bow down to their parents to ask for the blessing that the pregnancy will go as planned until delivery.

2| Siraman or wash

Siraman means to take a bath. Its purpose is to purify the woman and the baby in her breast morally and physically.

We do it in a place that we have already prepared before with the beautiful decoration and we call it Krobongan.

The number seven becomes the symbol of the Mitoni ritual according to the theme, so it is always used at the parties of this ceremony.

To make the Siraman, we use water that is taken from seven different sources. Then, it is collected in a brass bucket, then it is sprinkled with flowers such as roses, jasmines, michelies (kantil), canangas. These various flowers symbolize purity.

Seven people are chosen to represent the other members of the family to make the Siraman.

To clean the flowers which remain on the head and also on the body of the woman, one uses the last water which put in a kendil or a jar. After that, this jar is thrown to the ground by the woman until this jar is broken. If the jar neck is in an intact state, then her baby will be a boy. But if she shatters, her baby will be a line.

3| After the siraman

The husband must put an egg in his wife’s sarong, on his stomach, then he drops it until it falls to the ground. This ritual symbolizes a hope that the baby will be born easily like this egg.

4| The Brojolan ritual

That is to say membrojolkan or to bring in a couple of cengkir (the young coconut). But first, we must draw the figure of Kamajaya and Dewi Ratih to these cengkir. His trial is like the 3rd ritual. But what does it is her mother, it is not her husband. When his mother brings in the Cengkir couple, his mother-in-law must take them. Then, his mother carries them in her arms like holding a child, then her husband takes one of the cengkir without seeing him. If he takes the cengkir that looks like Dewi Ratih, his baby will be a girl and on the contrary. After that, he cuts it using the cutter, if this cengkir is split in half, his baby will be a girl, but if he is not split in half, his baby will be a boy.

5| In the 5th ritual

The woman must change the clothing with seven fabrics which have the different pattern. The purpose of this ritual is for the baby to go to have seven goodnesses like the goodnesses of these tissues. Whenever she changes the fabric to the 6th fabric, the presenter will ask the guests is it beautiful or not? and the guests will respond “Not yet! “When she wears the 7th cloth, the guests will say” Yes, it’s beautiful! ”

The patterns of these fabrics are:

Sidomukti it symbolizes happiness, Sidoluhur it symbolizes glory, Truntum it has the symbol of sticking firmly to kindness, Parangkusuma it symbolizes the struggle to survive, Semen Rama he symbolizes a hope that his parents will always love each other, Udan Riris it symbolizes a hope that the baby will always make men happy, Cakar Ayam it symbolizes a hope so that this child will be independent. The last fabric is best. It has the Lasem or Dringin motiv. The Lasem motif is the vertical line motif, its meaning is a relationship between men and God. While the Dringin motif is the horizontal motif which signifies a relationship in society.

6| The 6th ritual

The husband must cut the jack of janur / lawe (the young coconut palm) which is surrounded by his wife’s belly with Brojol kriss, but before putting turmeric at the end. The purpose of this ritual is to cut the misfortune that will happen at the time of birth.

7| The last one is Rujakan

The woman makes the rujak of seven kinds of fruit. If the rujak taste is spicy, her baby will be a girl. Then the guests buy it with clay money, which is called kreweng.

In this ritual there are offerings that must be completed, these are:

  • Seven kinds of fruit for rujakan.
  • Seven kinds of porridge.
  • Cakes (you have to buy them at the traditional market).
  • A large tumpeng, and six small tumpeng that we put around the large tumpeng.

Javanese culture has linked with Islam, so in every ritual or ceremony there are elements of the Islam religion, because the majority of our ancestors are Muslim.

One of the Javanese rituals is the Mitoni ritual. There is a philosophy on the number seven in this ritual. The number seven is considered the sacred number, because it is taken from the number of days in a week, the number of verses from Al-Fatiha, seven layers of the sky, and seven members of the body who bow down when -we pray, these are the head, the two soles of the feet, the two soles of the hands, and the two knees. They are proven in the Qur’an.

Javanese people call the age of seven months pregnant Sapta Kawasa Jati. Sapta-tujuh-seven, kawasa-kekuasaan-power, jati-nyata-real. The meaning of this name is on the power of God, the baby can be born with good health and perfect when he is seven months old in his mother’s womb. Because according to them, at this age, the embryo has already had the full body member, it is not the premature baby. But if it is not born yet, we must do the Mitoni ritual.

According to the epistemology of java, the Mitoni ceremony contains the important elements in epistemology, these are the people, the time, and the place. More and more this ritual provokes many myths which are believed by the Javanese and even are practiced in daily life until now.

In the paradigm of Islam, Javanese traditions are considered to be deviation from religion. But according to the Javanese, they are the way to get closer to God at the same time to ensure the continuity of their culture. Its primary purpose is to simplify religious practice in the traditional way in keeping with their daily lives, this is not polytheism.