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As a country with rice as the staple food, the dominant traditional ecological knowledge ( TEK) on food in Indonesia is rice. However, in Tawangmangu District, Central Java Province, the TEK inherited from their ancestors is about non- rice food security. This study aimed to explore how villagers pass on and practice their knowledge and beliefs in food defense based on traditional ecological knowledge. The data were collected through FGD, interviews, and field obser - vations of traditional ceremonial processions, agricultural activities, and natural resource management. The results showed that TEK in Tawangmangu had three themes, including (1) TEK communication and inheritance through folktales on the origin of vegetables and corn, taboo words, such as the prohibition of planting rice, and the symbolic meaning of traditional rituals and offerings; (2) the people’s philosophy is reflected in their view of God, ancestors’ spir - its as folktales figures, village guards’ spirits, and other living things. The folktales protagonists’ spirits are asked to pro - vide protection, while the antagonists’ spirits are asked not to interfere; and (3) natural resources sustainability involves maintaining non-rice plant commodities, terraced agricultural land management, intercropping systems, managing water resource and crop yields, and traditional houses architecture. The locals protect the forest on Mount Lawu and Pringgodani Cave as their source of life by prohibiting cutting trees and reforestation. Keywords: Traditional ecological knowledge, Non-rice food security, Folktale, Ritual, Taboo, Sustainability Introduction practices are based on traditional ecological knowledge An indigenous community has distinct social, economic, or TEK . practical, spiritual, political, and historical ties to ances- TEK significantly contributes to the natural environ - tral lands . The relationship system is passed through ment, ecology, biology, geology, and geography for sus- generations as a guideline in various fields, including tainability . Various countries have researched TEK farming, irrigation, fishing, forest security, village clean - focusing on resource sustainability and environmental liness, and construction. The community’s local wisdom conservation, such as biodiversity [5–7] and forest man- and cultural heritage result from their habits or culture to agement . However, some studies revealed that it is adapt to nature and the environment . As a result, they lacking in most countries, including China [9, 10], South develop, improve, and protect this knowledge for centu- India , and Fiji . TEK has become extinct glob- ries by passing it through generations. The indigenous ally as past and oral traditions . Since it strengthens community’s environmental management methods and people’s resilience to manage various global changes, los- ing it will reduce the ability to manage climate change [5, 14]. As a result, UNESCO  and the World Intellectual *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Property Organization  urge countries to safeguard Applied Linguistics and Literature Research Group, Universitas Sebelas TEK sustainability. Maret, Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia © The Author(s) 2022. 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Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 2 of 13 Agea et al.  stated that TEK is essential in food slopes, especially Tawangmangu District, Karanganyar production for developing countries. Studies in vari- Regency, Central Java Province. ous countries indicate that the indigenous community The community in the Tawangmangu District con - has knowledge and practices to select food commodi- sumed corn and tubers as their staple food until early ties and manage and process food crops. The commu - 1990. They did not consume rice like most Indonesians nity in Godda District, Jharkhand, India, has knowledge due to the area’s climatic and geographical conditions, of diverse and nutritious traditional food, including the especially high rainfall and steep slopes, unsuitable for benefits of consumption or avoiding them, such as taste, rice cultivation . However, food self-sufficiency pro - availability, season, cost, and processing duration . grams promote the residents consuming non-rice to Following the indigenous knowledge passed through gen- include rice as a main source of nutrition gradually. Indo- erations, Limpopo Province, South Africa, applies vari- nesia implemented food security policies in the 90 s, ous indigenous of food processing methods and coping focusing on single food production, with rice as the staple strategies during food shortages . The community’s food termed ‘rice self-sufficiency’ [30, 31]. This caused food production and preservation knowledge in Turkana, a transformation from diverse to uniform staple food, Kenya, improves food security as a resource-scarce coun- where the community consuming non-rice staple food try . This knowledge is through continuous commu - switched to rice. Therefore, non-rice staple foods such as nity interactions and environmental observations. corn, tubers, and sago lost their capacity in food defense Indonesia has over 300 ethnic groups with unique tra- . As a result, the consumption of corn as a staple food ditional knowledge . It is the fourth biggest agrarian was abandoned after the 90 s. Some Javanese do not feel developing country globally , with its TEK linked to full or considered ‘have not eaten’ without eating rice. food security. There are various traditional ecological Corn rice and cakes are offered during the Dukutan and knowledge studies on food issues. For example, research Mondosiyo village’s clean traditional ceremony. published in an Indonesian-language manuscript stated Despite corn being a non-staple food in Tawangmangu, that a community in Gorontalo Province applies local TEK on non-rice food still exists, including folktales on wisdom for food independence without relying on a sin- the origin of non-rice commodity crops, traditional cer- gle food commodity and diversifies food sources besides emonies with non-rice offerings, and agricultural systems rice . Some Dayak communities in West Kalimantan for non-rice crop management [29, 33]. Most residents’ Province apply a traditional rice farming system, namely lives revolve around non-rice food security, believing that a shifting cultivation system intercropped with other the folktale events on the origins of corn and vegetables foods while maintaining abandoned forests . Another are real. Following this belief, the resident plant selected research focused on the community around the forest commodities, disregarding local climatic and geographi- of Tesso Nilo National Park at Riau Province, possess- cal conditions, unsuitable for rice cultivation. Further- ing traditional knowledge by prohibiting forest damage, more, their beliefs are demonstrated in daily life and essential for farmers unable to plant rice due to flooding traditional ceremonies . in the rainy season . A study on traditional knowledge Huambachano  viewed that the indigenous com- application in rice cultivation by the Tomohon commu- munity’s food is related to local TEK; hence, food nity, North Sulawesi Province, concluded that they use shifts reduce TEK. That is because TEK is special some traditional knowledge and abandon others, such and unique so it applies to certain areas and is differ- as cooperation harvesting because machines replaced ent from other areas . TEK includes knowledge, the harvesting system . Additionally, the Moluccas practice, and beliefs based on food issues mainte- Islands community is famous for their traditional plant- nance, such as the origin of food, farming and harvest- ing and processing methods of sago as the staple food ing procedures, pests’ control, harvest management, . and disasters management . Communities on As a country whose primary food is rice, traditional Selaru Island, Maluku Province, have local wisdom knowledge in Indonesia is dominated by these foodstuffs. on planting, harvesting, and processing ways for vari- For example, based on the Dewi Sri folktale, the commu- ous non-rice commodities. However, the rotation is nity in Java Island believed that God chose rice for the reduced because food commodities are abandoned farmers as the only grown plant . Therefore, rice is and replaced with rice . The shift in staple food for their staple food, but some residents consume traditional the Tawangmangu District community allows a shift non-rice foods. The local community’s traditional food is in their traditional ecological knowledge, especially tubers in Papua and sago in Maluku. Furthermore, some knowledge, beliefs, and practices related to its mainte- groups consume traditional non-rice staple foods such as nance. However, their defense practices remain despite corn and tubers. This community lives on Mount Lawu losing TEK knowledge and beliefs. This is similar to Sri Sumar wati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 3 of 13 Lanka with a unique native food tradition, but now the Methodology dissemination of the knowledge is limited due to the This was a case study that examined the real causality or decrease of the number of people having the knowl- cause and effect explanations in the study subject , edge . focusing on ‘how’ or ‘why’ TEK questions. The selection Various TEK assets in Indonesia are near extinct, of this approach was based on the intentions to reveal such as knowledge on shade trees selection in nutmeg food security issues in Tawangmangu, especially on an plantations in Ambon (Maluku Province) due to the individual or a social unit based on the existing condi- lack of local authorities’ support  and biodiversity tions and contexts. The data were collected using vari - conservation knowledge by the Dayak tribe in North ous techniques, including field observations with the Kalimantan Province because the younger genera- researcher as the main instrument, emphasizing the pro- tion does not care . The Dayak community in East cess and meaning from the subject’s perspective. This Kalimantan Province has TEK on selecting a suitable case study was contemporary and related to current and land plot, soil classification, and ’signs from nature’ past conditions that affected the research period. embedded as a culture—requiring focus during certain The study was conducted in five villages on the Mount months and types of activities. However, this knowl- Lawu slopes, including Nglurah, Pancot, Kalisoro, Blum- edge is near extinct due to a lack of regeneration . bang, and Gondosuli in Tawangmangu District, Karan- This research focused on why and how the Tawang- ganyar Regency, Central Java Province. Five out of ten mangu community inherits decision-making knowl- villages were selected because the communities applied edge for selecting certain food crops and cropping TEK. Tawangmangu is a popular tourist area due to its patterns based on their traditional knowledge, includ- beautiful nature with Grojogan Sewu Waterfall. It is ing sustainability management. The results can help famous for vegetable production with a highland area formulate policies on Tawangmangu District develop- of 1200 m above sea level altitude (Fig. 1). Furthermore, ment as a tourism area. Furthermore, strategies map- it is a steep hilly area with an elevation of 400–2200 m ping to maintain TEK continuity for the Tawangmangu above sea level and a slope between 5° and 45°. It is a cold community can reference non-rice heritage preserva- area even in the rainy season with 18 °C and receives the tion considering Indonesia struggles to provide rice highest rainfall than other areas in Karanganyar Regency, and should build a culture of diverse food consump- even during the dry season. tion . Therefore, this study explored the communi- Following the study objectives, the data collection ties’ TEK in non-rice food security. focused on the TEK potential on non-rice food security in Tawangmangu. The sources included informants, the Fig. 1 A Geographic location of Karanganyar Regency in Central Java Province, B Tawangmangu District in Karanganyar Regency, C Study area Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 4 of 13 Communication and exchange of knowledge offerings making process, traditional ceremony proces - The ecological knowledge on non-rice food security is sion, farming fields, planting and harvesting processes, passed through generations verbally and non-verbally. traditional ceremony venue, Menggung Site, Pring- Verbal communication includes folktale and taboo state- godani Cave, and traditional houses. The informants ments, while nonverbal includes symbolic meanings in consisted of 4 TEK experts, the village leader, the local traditional ceremonial processions and offerings. culture lovers’ group, offerings maker, senior farmers, and irrigation officer. ’TEK experts’ include the indig - The folktale of the origin of non‑rice food enous people caring for the local culture to improve There are two folktales believed to be true. The r fi st is the their knowledge than others. They were aged 55 to 75, Narotama folktale that conveys the origin of the corn in often acting as the resource person for locals and out- Nglurah Village. In the ancient times, King Airlangga, a siders, and one graduated in art and culture. warlord named Narotama, and his soldiers fled because The data were collected through focus group discus - enemies attacked the kingdom in ancient times. They sions (FGD), observations, and in-depth interviews rested in Nglurah village along the journey, and Naro- (Fig. 2). FGD was applied to plan the data collection tama decided to stay because many residents lacked food. strategy during the early phases, uncover folktale, inter- The residents had poor rice harvest; hence, he introduced pret data, classify, and determine the TEK changes. The them to corn suitable for high rainfall and steep slopes. observations was focused around the offerings making He taught the residents how to process corn into a staple process, traditional ceremony procession, farming sys- food, namely corn rice. Therefore, corn became the sta - tem, reforestation, environmental preservation system, ple food in Nglurah Village and other villages in Tawang- traditional houses characteristics, and TEK relevant mangu, and the residents no longer lacked food or died areas. The interview was done to explore folktale, tra - of starvation. Narotama was known as Kyai Menggung ditional ceremony procession and meanings, religious in his later years, buried in his former residence, and his behaviors, views on unseen power, and farming system. tomb named the Menggung Site. This study explored the traditional knowledge in The second folktale is titled King Baka and Putut Tawangmangu, focusing on three themes by Turner, Tetuka, with the character being a king named King Baka Ignace, & Ignace , namely communication and as a man-eating giant. The residents offered their fam - knowledge exchange, philosophy and worldview, and ily members to be eaten, and the king’s cruelty added TEK defense practices and strategies. to their suffering, including starvation due to failed rice crops. A hermit named Putut Tetuka replaced an old widow when the king wanted to eat him. Therefore, his Results supernatural powers prevented the king from cutting his Potential of traditional ecological knowledge body into pieces and was swallowed whole. Putut Tetuka in Tawangmangu jumped from the king’s stomach, causing a war between TEK data in Tawangmangu can be classified into three the two for days. King Baka was defeated and died by themes. Figure 3 exhibits the details as the following. hitting his head on a black rock. He realized his cruelty PHASE IV PHASE II PHASE III PHASE I Interview, observation, FGD with TEK experts, Observation, interview, Informant selection for and FGD at 5 villages, leader of traditional and FGD at 5 villages for FGD using purposive sub district office,and activities, senior farmers, mapping TEK potential and snowball techniques tourism area and village leader from 5 in Tawangmangu at 10 villages villages OUTPUT OUTPUT Symbolic meaning of OUTPUT Map of TEK potential OUTPUT processions and data covering the theme Roadmap of data Informants as early traditional ceremonial collection activities of strategy for source of information offerings communication, view of (covering date and time, regarding TEK potential venue, focus, informant, life, and sustainability implementation. and relevant techniques) Fig. 2 Phase of data collection Sumar wati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 5 of 13 Fig. 3 Map of TEK in Tawangmangu before dying, and to atone for his sins; he said, ‘O gods, I rice cones preparations by menstruating women with have made my people suffer, as a penance for sins, I beg washed hair. This is because the offerings are for sacred you to transform my body into the earth’s produce so ancestors and must be made by holy people. that my people do not lack food.’ His body parts turned into crops such as bananas, cassava, potatoes, and others. The symbolic meaning of the traditional ceremonial Before his imprisonment in a cave, Putut Tetuka advised procession the residents to plant vegetables or secondary crops and Communities on Mount Lawu slopes hold various cer- forbade planting rice. Furthermore, it is unknown when emonies, including the traditional ceremony of village Putut Tetuka was nicknamed Kyai Kacanegara. clean Dukutan and Mondosiyo and Dawuhan water security. It is a large traditional ceremony involving all Non‑rice food taboo residents every 7 months, believing in disaster when the The resident needs to follow several prohibitions based ceremony is ignored. on efforts to maintain non-rice food. First, the ‘ban on The village clean Dukutan ceremony held in Nglu - planting rice’ in Tawangmangu followed, by farmers who rah Village honors the services of Narotama or Kyai believe that a disaster will occur when they disobey. Some Menggung. The process involves: First , the residents farmers stated that the landslides and disease outbreaks clean the Menggung Site, waterways and agricultural were due to planting rice during their ancestral period. land, village, and the pendapa ’the ceremony area,’ a Second, ‘the prohibition of making non-corn offerings’ day before the event. They believe that Menggung is allowing only corn complements during traditional cer- the residence and tomb of Kyai Menggung and his emonies. This is based on the belief that Narotama and wife; hence, the procession symbolizes ‘keeping a clean Putut Tetuka requested corn offering to commemorate physical and mental environment.’ Second, the residents their services. Violating the prohibition is believed to collect corn rice cones and side dishes and pray at the cause natural disasters or vegetable and secondary crops village pendapa, symbolizing ‘gratefulness and praying failure. Third , ‘the prohibition of tasting corn dishes for a bountiful harvest.’ Third, the procession surrounds offerings’ because they are offered to respected ances - the village with corn offerings and palawija ‘second tors (Kyai Menggung and Kyai Kacanegara), prohibiting crops,’ cheering and performing barongsai ‘a lion dance’ tasting or opening the pot. The offerings are provided to the Menggung Site. This symbolizes ‘rejoicing and at the Dukutan and Mondosiyo village clean traditional enjoying the harvest.’ Fourth, the residents and visitors ceremonies. It is believed that violating the prohibition hold a ‘war’ brawl by throwing corn rice and apologiz- causes uncooked food. Fourth, ‘banning making corn ing to each other, commemorating the war between offerings by unholy women,’ prohibiting tasting and corn Kyai Menggung and Nyai Menggung before getting Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 6 of 13 married. The war was caused by Nyai Menggung and ‘gratefulness for the gift of continuous water flow her students who refused to plant corn; hence, the pro- through the agricultural land.’ cession symbolizes ‘not to worry about selecting corn as a staple food.’ The symbolic meaning of traditional ceremonial offerings The Mondosiyo traditional ceremony is held in Pan - As stated by a local TEK expert, all the traditional cer- cot, Kalisoro, and Blumbang village. The procession emonies include offerings made from corn for rice and includes: First, the residents clean the village, ancestor’s cakes. The residents are prohibited from using rice, and graves, Pringgodani Cave, and waterways a day before it takes two days to make corn offerings. It is soaked for the event. They believe that Pringgodani Cave is where two nights before turning into flour then pounded in a Putut Tetuka was meditated. The procession symbolizes mortar. However, since the community familiarized with ‘maintaining a clean physical and non-physical environ- the grinding tool, they take it to the mill for a smoother ment’. Second, they collect offerings at the village pen - texture and save energy. The corn is ground into fine dapa, praying and eating together with gamelan music, flour, mixed with grated coconut seasoned with an esti - symbolizing ‘gratefulness for God’s gifts and the ances- mated amount of salt, which prohibited to be tasted, and tors’ service.’ Third , the residents slaughter the kendit steamed until half cooked. This mixture is divided by goat ’with black hair and a white belly, which is rare two, with one part steamed to make corn rice while the and expensive. This symbolizes ‘giving the best to the other makes cakes. The other foodstuffs provided include ancestors (others).’ Fourth, the residents wash the black cassava (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato, and banana stone that killed King Baka with sticky rice water (fer- (Musa). The side dishes provided must also come from mented glutinous rice) to relieve his pain. This symbol - the environment around the village, for example tempeh izes ‘empathy to those suffering’. Fifth, the Reog Pancot ’fermented soybean (Glycine max) and ares ’banana stem attraction accompanies the procession around the vil- hump (Caulis)’. The scientific names of the offerings and lage, symbolizing ‘celebration and enjoying a bountiful their equipment can be read in Table 1. harvest.’ The offerings area is made from common material from Guarding the Dawuhan water ceremony occurs a the village, namely the banana leaves midrib as shown in month before the Dukutan ceremony. The residents Fig. 4. believe that their ancestors passed the Dawuhan tradi- The traditional ceremonies in Tawangmangu have a tion to protect and preserve the springs. The villages similar type of offerings. The main offering is corn rice with a water source participate in the water-protection cone ’conical rice corn’ and its complements (Fig. 5). The ceremony, gathering in the water source area for offer - offering maker stated that the corn rice is shaped like a ings, cleaning and preventing environmental dam- cone with a top central point and the side dishes symbol- age, and praying and eating together. This symbolizes ize the mountain and ecosystem. A mountain is sacred for the Javanese because it is close to the sky and heaven. Table 1 List of scientific and native names of material offerings Scientific name Native name Utilization Zea mays jagung Jagung ‘corn’ for making corn rice and cakes. The process is as follows: the cornstarch is mixed with shredded coco- nut and a little bit of salt, then kneaded, before steaming for 30 min. The dough is then split into 2 parts. One part is steamed for another 30 min to make corn rice. To make the tumpeng ‘the cone-shaped yellow rice’, the corn rice can be moulded into a cone shape. To make the cakes, the dough can be molded into multiple shapes (gandik, lingga, human statues, etc.), to be steamed again for another 30–45 min Midrib pelepah The pelepah ‘banana midrib’ for making the encek ‘tray’. The making process is as follows: The midrib is shaped into rectangles which are connected by sticks made from bamboo (Bambuseae). The top part is then covered with banana leaf (Leaf blade) as a lining Glycine max kedelai Soy is used to make tempeh and bongko. The process of making tempeh is as follows: soy is washed and soaked for one night, peeled, steamed for 45 min, and then fermented for 2 to 3 days. As for bongko, black soy is used. The black soy is soaked for 1 night, mashed, seasoned, wrapped with banana leaf, and then steamed for 30 min Musa ares The part of the banana plant used is ares ‘the innermost part of the banana trunk’. The making process is as follows: ares is cut into cubes, boiled for 30 min, seasoned, wrapped with banana leaf, and steamed for 30 min Artocarpus camansi kluwih The kluwih fruit is used to make lodeh dish ’coconut milk vegetable dish’. The following is the process making: peel the fruit, cut it into cubes, boil, give seasoning, and mix with coconut milk Lpomoea batatas ubi Ubi ‘sweet potatoes’ are used to make kolak ubi (sweet potatoes with coconut milk) and boiled sweet potatoes. The process of making kolak ubi is as follows: cut sweet potatoes into cubes, boil, and then mixwith coconut milk. The process of making boiled sweet potatoes is as follows: the clean sweet potatoes and then steam them Sumar wati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 7 of 13 Fig. 4 A, B Oer ff ings brought on the procession on a tray called encek; C Encek. Source: author AB 12 34 56 Fig. 5 A Oer ff ings sent by each family. B Contents of offerings: 1. grilled tempe ‘fermentation soya’; 2. kolak ubi ’sweet potato cooked with coconut milk,’ 3. botok ares ‘a side dish of banana hump (Caulis) which is seasoned and wrapped in leaves and then steamed’; 4. tumpeng nasi jagung ’cone-shaped corn rice’; 5. coconut milk; 6. kluwih soup (Artocarpus camansi) ‘cooked with spices and coconut milk’ and a half of boiled egg. Source: author The side dishes and vegetables are made from simple pro - gandik symbolizes ‘women’s womb or fertility god- cessed ingredients, such as baked tempeh without frying dess,’ while the lingga of humans symbolizes ‘males or or seasoning, meaning that ‘people must live a simpler source of seed’ as the source of life. Furthermore, cakes life than their ancestors.’ shaped as money, bracelets, and necklaces symbolize Another offering is a corn cake with different shapes ‘human wealth or wrathful lust.’ Each uniquely shaped between Mondosiyo and Dukutan ceremonies. The cake comes in three colors, white, yellow, and black. Mondosiyo ceremony has various shaped cakes, such The yellow color uses turmeric water, while soot is used as a pair of human statues, gandik ’yoni,’ lingga ’phal- for black. The white pays ‘purity,’ yellow brass ‘majesty,’ lus,’ yoni, bracelets, necklaces, money, and bamboo while black belongs to ‘purity.’ The offerings are placed clumps. Furthermore, each unique shape is made as a in a bowl made of banana leaves arranged on a ’woven pair, symbolizing ‘that all the global phenomena occur bamboo tray’ (Fig. 6). in pairs,’ for example, old—young, sad—happy, rich- The Dukutan ceremony corn cakes in Nglurah Village poor, healthy—sick. This symbolizes ‘that people must are similar to the Mondosiyo traditional ceremony in remember the times when young, healthy, rich, or hap- Pancot, Blumbang, and Kalisoro villages. However, the piness will not last forever.’ On the other hand, people cakes in Nglurah Village have two colors, red and white, should not give up when sick, poor, or difficult. The made from mashed corn (Fig. 7). The red color includes Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 8 of 13 AB C1 23 45 Fig. 6 A Corn cakes of various shapes served in bowls made of banana leaves and laid out on tampah ’trays of woven bamboo’; B Cake in the shape of a pair of people; C Pairs of cakes that resemble: 1. bracelets, 2. coins, 3. phallus, 4. necklace, and 5. gandik ’yoni.’ Source: author Fig. 7 A Gandik ’cake made from corn’ is red and white made from corn flour, grated coconut and a little salt. After the ingredients are mixed, they are shaped and steamed. B The form of gandik ’yoni.’ C A Bamboo clump cake with a combination of red and white. Source: author A B1 23 4 56 7 8 Fig. 8 A Procession brings offerings of secondary crops ’non-rice food ingredients’ (Photo retrieved from https:// www. krjog ja. com/ berita- lokal/ jateng/ solo/ upaca ra- adat- dhuku tan- wujud- pengh ormat an- leluh ur/); B The offerings include: 1. banana, 2. pumpkin seeds, 3. boiled white sweet potato, 4. boiled corn, 5. boiled peanuts, 6. boiled cassava, 7. boiled pumpkin, and 8. boiled yellow sweet potato. Source: author Sumar wati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 9 of 13 melted brown sugar, symbolizing the female seed, while nut (Areca catechu L.), and whiting (Calcium hydrox- the white symbolizes the male seed uniting to birth a new ide) symbolize respect, meaning ‘we must respect each life. The village clean ceremony of Dukutan uses a bam - other to live in harmony and peace.’ This is based on the boo clump-shaped cake with red and white colors, sym- ancient Javanese tradition when welcoming guests with bolizing ‘a strong family kinship from everyone’s support a set of ‘betel-areca nut-whiting,’ signaling respect. and help’ (Fig. 7C). Each family provides boiled bananas, corn, sweet pota- toes, cassava, pumpkin, and peanuts offerings (Fig. 8). Philosophies and worldviews Boiled palawija ‘secondary crops’ symbolizes ‘humans Belief in the power of good and bad earth offerings’ that they should treat the earth better Based on supernatural entities, the residents believe for good results. Some of the offerings are consumed in two powers and strengths, good and bad. The good together, while others are brought during the village entities include Kyai Menggung (Narotama), Kyai procession. Kacanegara (Putut Tetuka), and Eyang Nata Kusuma The uba rampe or ’set of offerings’ is held on a Mon - (the ancestral spirits guarding the village). The bad day, a day before the event. The offerings are kept at ones include King Baka and other creatures considered the neighborhood coordinator’s home (village head) as plant nuisances. They ask for safety and prosperity with the corn rice cone instead of the ceremony or pro- against good power and strength and lack of interfer- cession area. It consists of young coconuts and flower ence and damage from the bad. Therefore, citizens buds, bananas, small round corn cakes, and other uten- respect both but believe that God has the greatest sils, symbolizing good teachings (Fig. 9). In Javanese, power. a young coconut is called cengkir, associated with the The Dukutan and Mondosiyo traditional ceremonies term kenceng ing pikir, ’strong thinking,’ meaning that and offerings reflect trust in the above figures, includ - humans have strong thoughts with strong prayers and ing the origin of corn (Kyai Menggung) and vegetable aspirations. Mancung ‘a sword-shaped coconut bud’ folktales (Kyai Kacanegara and Raja Baka). The resi - symbolizes self-confidence, meaning that humans navi - dents hold certain ceremonies to protect the village and gate life with confidence, belief and have faith in God the environment from disaster based on their beliefs. Almighty. A pair of bananas (banana king) symbolizes Therefore, they conduct timely and effective village human ideals, meaning that ‘determining ideals follows cleaning ceremonies, even during the COVID-19 pan- good ways, bringing safety, prosperity, and happiness demic. The community associates a disaster with defi - to the nation and universe.’ Betel (Piper betle L), areca ciencies in the traditional ceremonies implementation A 1 2 3 4 5B 1 2 34 5 67 89 10 Fig. 9 A Oer ff ings placed in the neighborhood coordinator’s house include: 1 coconut flowers, 2 uba rampe ’offering utensils,’ 3 tawonan kecil ’corn cakes in small round shape,’ 4 young coconut, 5 bananas. B The contents of the offerings are 1 wrapped roses, 2 ares ‘spiced banana stem,’ 3 ginger, 4 bananas with coconut milk sauce, 5 skinless peanuts, 6 betel leaf and whiting, 7 boiled peanuts, 8 boiled eggs, 9 fried black soybeans, 10 cooked coconut milk. Source: author Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 10 of 13 believe that the high fatalities in the past epidemics of myths, instead of cold climate and high rainfall charac- deadly disease and erosion were due to a lack of tradi- teristics. Besides vegetables and secondary crops, some tional ceremonies. Tawangmangu residents, especially the Nglurah area, work as ornamental plant farmers. However, most farm- Respect for all entities ers grow vegetables and no rice. Second, planting occurs The Tawangmangu community maintains its cultural in the dry season because these plants can manage with norms like other indigenous people living in balance and less air. Third , the vegetables and secondary crops are harmony with nature. The locals view the environment grown through an intercropping system, namely plant- as a whole, with all parts interconnected in a network of ing several (two to four) plant commodities simultane- causes and effects, actions and outcomes, and behaviors ously. Senior farmers believe this system is the preferred and consequences. There is an interactive relationship economic and ecologic teaching. Fourth, the leek is the between humans, plants, natural objects, and super- mainstay due to higher profitability than onion and gar - natural entities, inseparable and distinct relating to each lic. This is because Tawangmangu has superior quality other. Therefore, humans must rightfully treat other crea - and expensive scallions than other regions. tures, including plants and animals. A local senior citi- zen stated that they sought the tree keeper’s permission Environmental modification before cutting trees. Furthermore, they cannot get rid of Following the hilly terrain, Tawangmangu’s agriculture ants in the house and instead put sugar or food to move adopts a terraced land system with a slope of 50°. Some and focus on the behavior and character of other entities farmers stated that it is difficult to water vegetables on a as natural phenomena are associated with human life. For sloping than flat land, especially during the dry season. example, people who find a four-leaf clover (Salviniales ) Despite the abundant water flow from Tawangmangu are filled with good luck and select the plants based on springs, vegetables require more water, especially during the belief that vegetables and secondary crops are the planting season, and must be watered daily. The springs ancestors’ choice to be preserved through generations. reduce their water discharge during the dry season on Mount Lawu slopes. The local officials called jogotirto A Belief in sacred places ’water guards’ coordinate the water usage in each vil- Most people believe in the myths of folktale characters, lage or neighborhood to avoid conflicts. Irrigation during giving meaning to the ceremonies. This is based on the the dry season follows a girik ’water ration card’ system, belief that the folktale of Narotama and Putut Tetuka is regulating the schedule and water allocation for farmers. true. Therefore, they believe certain places belong to According to the farmers, the bill is based on the land these characters, including the Menggung Site in Nglu- area and required amount of water. The money is used to rah Village. It has a large tree (tree circumference ± 10 m) build and repair the irrigation canals. Furthermore, the thought to be centuries old, and the residents are forbid- residents plant secondary crops requiring less water due den to cut the tree. The Menggung site is a sacred place to expensive fees. believed to be Narotama’s and his wife’s residence and Vegetable farming follows the intercropping system, burial place (Kyai Menggung), a folktale character on planting two or more crop commodities simultane- the origin of corn. Dukutan traditional ceremonial pro- ously and land. According to farmers, the intercropping cession is held at the Menggung site. Second, the Pring- method is conducted on plants with one harvest season, godani Cave on Mount Lawu slopes is sacred because it such as leeks with shallots and mustard greens. Planting is believed to be the area to meditate Putut Tetuka (Kyai various kinds of vegetables in one area prevents pests, Kacanegara), a folktale character on the origin of plants. anticipates reduced prices for certain vegetables, and The residents are prohibited from cutting trees and dam - meets the family needs. Furthermore, a Farmer’s Group aging the sacred environment in the Pringgodani Cave was formed to improve their welfare. The group forms area. the members’ mindset to work together for better profits and quality, competing with imported vegetables in the Practices and strategies for sustainable living market. Farming strategies The farmers’ agricultural system in Tawangmangu Adaptability includes; First, vegetables and secondary crops as the Traditional houses construction in Tawangmangu is primary. The vegetables include leeks, lettuce, carrots, affected by the residents’ ecological conditions, eco - onions, garlic, beans, cabbage, and beans, while the crops nomic, and social life. The cold climate prevents the include corn, sweet potatoes, cassava, and bananas. The construction of traditional high houses, with tin roof- plant selection is based on Dukutan and Mondosiyo ing, without vents, and wood walls and pillars. Most Sumar wati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 11 of 13 Fig. 10 A Arranging shallot yields on the terrace; B making offerings together in the front room; C storing the garlic harvest on the roof of the vestibule; D storing the shallot harvest on the stove in the back room. Source: author traditional houses in Tawangmangu have large yards for are passed through myths related to folktale characters. planting vegetables and secondary crops or plants drying. The residents believe these characters as entities with Additionally, they have a terrace to store or clean crops. the power and strength of good and bad, respecting and The traditional Javanese houses have three separate areas, placing them as humans with a resident sacred place. the front, middle, and back (Fig. 10). The front room sits Following their beliefs, the residents conduct practices with the guests and conducts traditional activities, such mandated by their ancestral such as food preservation, as processing offerings in cooperation. Furthermore, they farming, managing crops, and sustainability. Moreover, store the garlic harvest on the roof, and the middle room they select palawija and vegetables as crop commodi- acts as the dining and bedroom area, while the back room ties disregarding the areas’ climate and geographical holds crops, agricultural tools, kitchen, and bathroom. conditions but based on the Dukutan and Mondosiyo myths. The sustainability strategies of the local ecosystem Foresting include planting crops following an intercropping system, The community preserves the Slope Forest Area of optimizing house functions, and forest preservation. Mount Lawu, Pringgodani Cave, and Ceto Temple to The findings were similar to previous researchers that protect the environment and natural resources, espe- TEK in rural areas is dominated by food security. For cially their source of life sustainability, namely vegetable example, TEK in Turkana, Kenya, is related to food secu- and secondary crops. According to local TEK experts and rity , similar to Andes Mountains communities . senior farmers, the Tawangmangu forest provides water However, TEK in Tawangmangu follows one theme, sources and protects the ecosystem. Deforestation causes non-rice food security. This is based on the two folktales landslides due to hilly areas and dries the springs on allowing farmers to plant vegetables and pulses instead of mountain slopes. The ancient residents enforced custom - rice, disregarding climatic and geographical conditions. ary rules on forest management around Mount Lawu. Tawangmangu District is located on the Mount Lawu First, they required the environmental coordinators and slopes as a cold area with high rainfall, unsuitable for village elders’ approval before cutting trees. Second, they planting rice. Therefore, the folktales described several planted replacement trees. Third, they held a ritual to taboo statements, especially prohibiting planting rice. seek the forest guardian spirits’ permission before cutting Breaking this rule will expose the residents to a deadly trees. Fourth, they conducted a tree-planting procession disease outbreak. Therefore, the findings differed from at the clean village ceremony. the TEK studies by two researchers on the country’s sta- ple food by focusing on alternative food ingredients. Discussion The study found that TEK in Tawangmangu uses ver - Based on previous studies , TEK in Tawangmangu at bal communication strategy and inheritance on non-rice the Mount Lawu slopes includes communication strate- food security through generations. This is relevant to gies, philosophy and way of life, and sustainability. TEK previous findings that oral traditions spread the ances - communication and passing is through two folktales on tral cultural heritage. Therefore, cultural wealth is eas - the origin of vegetables and corn, taboo statements (pro- ily changed or lost. Sri Lanka has limited knowledge of hibiting planting rice), symbolic messages in the tradi- indigenous and traditional foods due to changing life- tional ceremonial processions to respect the ancestors styles, fewer holders of traditional ecological knowledge, who introduced corn and vegetables as staple foods using and flora and fauna resources [5, 37]. TEK food sus- corn offerings. The ancestral teachings on food security tainability is essential to maintain good environmental Sumarwati J ournal of Ethnic Foods (2022) 9:9 Page 12 of 13 management practices. Studies on Benin farmers (West practices and strategies include selection of crop com- Africa) showed that they conserve or plant trees to modities (non-rice food), terraced agricultural land man- conduct traditional ceremonies . Therefore, losing agement (in the irrigation system), vegetable cropping folktales on the origin of corn and vegetables in Tawang- system (intercropping), water resources management mangu hinders the next generation from recognizing the (maintaining forest conservation), and harvest manage- story’s important message, namely non-rice food secu- ment (sorting crop commodities, cleaning, classifying, rity. The further consequence includes the non-appli - and storage). The locals protect the forest areas of Mount cability of good ancestral practices acquired through Lawu slopes and Pringgodani Cave as their source of life centuries. by prohibiting logging and reforestation. Despite the indications that TEK is near extinct in Acknowledgements Tawangmangu, this research showed that some indig- To the participants for their kindness and interest in taking part in the study. enous communities maintain valuable teachings on Authors’ contributions environmental management. The maintenance strate - I am the sole author. The author read and approved the final manuscript. gies include TEK changes and adjustments with moder- nity, government policies, pests, and economic needs. Funding This research was supported by the Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia. The This method maintains the local ecosystem sustain - University Research Grant No. 452/UN27.21/PN/2020. ability to date, strengthening previous findings. Ugan - dans overcome various problems following ancestral Availability of data and materials Not applicable. teachings . This indigenous knowledge manages challenges such as floods, droughts, diseases, and pest Declarations attacks. Ugandans often experience drought, develop- ing the indigenous communities’ knowledge to predict Competing interest and overcome such challenges. 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Journal of Ethnic Foods – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 7, 2022
Keywords: Traditional ecological knowledge; Non-rice food security; Folktale; Ritual; Taboo; Sustainability
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