Threads Of Life

The Ngurisang Coming of Age Ceremony

Slide 1
The traditional village Bayan, Lombok

The village of Bayan in north Lombok maintains a local culture, rituals and traditions that predate the conversion to Islam of most of the community. Their traditional ceremonies always fit around the Islamic calendar.


Slide 2
Children who partake in the Ngurisang are usually 6 months to 12 years old

In the Ngurisang coming of age ceremony children’s hair is cut for the first time. The children are usually 6 months to 12 years of age. In the past the child’s entire head of hair would have been shaved but now it is only a symbolically cut.


Slide 3
Putting up the Tetaring which defines the space for the Ngurisang ceremony

The Ngurisang ceremony is considered a cleansing ceremony and allows the child to be ready for the ceremonies such as a tooth filing and later for the boys, circumcision. The preparation for this ceremony is very involved. A month prior to the event, a family that has children that will be involved in the ceremony invite the community to help erect the Tetaring, which is a ceremonial covering made of woven coconut leaves. The Tetaring defines the space where the ceremony will take place. It is a symbol of cooperation and informs the community that the ceremony is soon to begin.


Slide 4
Close family members arrive with contributions of rice, sugar and coffee to show their support

A day before the Ngurisang ceremony family members from nearby arrive with contributions of rice, sugar and coffee symbolizing their support of the ceremony. They will continue to visit until the day after the Ngurisang ceremony is completed. At the height of the ceremonial period, food is prepared and visitors sit on the pavilion, called the brugak, to enjoy the cakes and food offered to them by the hosts of the ceremony.


Slide 5
Pesajik is an offering similar to what is found in Bali containing bananas and rice cake

After the guests have been served coffee and cakes, all will gather to pray and ask God to protect the children as they undertake the ceremony. When it reaches the time between day and night, called magrib, which is considered the most auspicious time of the day, the main ceremony is performed by the traditional Moslem Kyai priest. Offerings such as Pesajik containing bananas and rice cakes are reminiscent of offerings used on Bali. The sticks of pig sate that would be found in Bali are here replaced with dried rice cake.


Slide 6
Offerings are place in front of each child

Other offerings would include containers called andang andang which hold rice and thread along with a coconut vessel containing water, chinese coins and rice. Baskets called cungki contain continuous warp textiles called kombong which must be made from handspun cotton and natural dyes. These will be given to each child at the end of the ceremony.


Slide 7
The hair of each child is cut and placed in a coconut shell containing holy water

The andang andang containers, and the cungki baskets are place in front of each child. When the ceremony begins the assistant priests begins to sing from the old palm-leaf books called lontar which are written in old Javanese script. As the Kyai performs the ceremony each child has his head washed with holy water. The hair is then cut and placed into a bowl containing holy water.


Slide 8
The kombong textiles’ warp threads are cut and the textile is place around the neck of each child

The kombong textile’s warp threads are cut and the textile is placed around the neck of each child. This is symbollic of each child having participated in the ceremony and that the ceremony was completed.


Slide 9
The kombong textile wrapped around the neck of the child is symbollic that the ceremony has been completed

Each kombong textile will remain with the owner throughout his or her life. In the past the threads would be cut from the textile and put into water to be drunk as medicine if the owner of the textile were ill. Following this Ngurisang ceremony, a tooth filing ceremony will take place in the next few months and thereafter a circumcision for boys