Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Oral Tradition Rites amid the Tourism Industry and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Study of cultural ceremonies in Dieng, Lombok, and Sumba
Nindyo Budi Kumoro

Last modified: 2022-06-07


This paper examines three rites of oral tradition in Indonesia, namely Ruwatan Rambut Gimbal in Dieng East Java, Bau Nyale in Lombok, and Pasola Ceremony in Sumba. The three rites are performative expressions of local folklore about human relations with the natural environment; the myth of the descendants of Kyai Kolodete in Dieng, the sacrifice of Princess Mandalika in Lombok, and reciprocity to the gods of Marapu in Sumba. This paper further wants to compare the three rites above in two crisis contexts, namely (1) the penetration of the tourism industry, which encourages massive cultural commodification, and (2) the challenges of holding traditional sacred rites during the Covid-19 pandemic era. In the context of tourism, each community in Dieng, Lombok, and Sumba has faced a dilemma: whether to choose to hold a traditionally considered authentic rite or adjust it to the tourism market's needs. Each community have different gradations of response in interpreting the two interests. In the context of a pandemic, we can see why one community considered that rites should still be carried out as usual. In contrast, another community has held rites by adjusting various restrictions and health protocols. Thus, this paper wants to contribute to the issue of preserving oral traditions, especially in latent crises (the penetration of the global tourism industry), as well as disastrous but temporary crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Oral tradition, rites, crises, tourism, pandemic

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