The mekotek tradition was still being carried out even amid a pandemic.
“We did not dare not to cancel it. Because this is related to the belief of the Munggu customary village community that the Mekotek tradition can repel bad luck,” said the head of Munggu traditional village, I Made Rai Sujana.
Since the implementation of Mekotek during the Kuningan Day, previously coordination was always carried out with the Badung Regency Covid-19 Handling Task Force, Badung Regent, Badung Police, and related agencies to get the best solution in implementing Mekotek during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Through various considerations, the Munggu Traditional Village finally decided that the Mekotek tradition was only followed by young people in the Munggu Traditional Village from 12 banjars.
Indeed, the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, Badung Police, and other related traffic units were warned so as not to cause crowds in the implementation.
“Because of this situation, we could not allow the outside community to watch. We cooperate with pecalang. Throughout the Munggu Traditional Village, we were closed during the Mekotek tradition,” added Sujana.
Mekotek is a tradition that is carried out by the people of Munggu Customary Village, Mengwi District, Badung Regency every Kuningan Day. The hallmark of the Mekotek tradition is that thousands of local Indigenous Village people flock to unite the 3,5 to 4-meter long wood poles. Then one person climbs the unified wood.
But during the COVID-19 pandemic where crowds are not allowed, it became a dilemma. On the one hand, the public must comply with the health protocol (Prokes) and circular from the government. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Mekotek is a tradition that must be carried out because it is believed to be a repellent of reinforcements for local customary villages. Therefore, the implementation of the Mekotek tradition during the COVID-19 pandemic was limited as much as possible.
Originally the Mekotek tradition was aimed at commemorating the victory because it had defended the Blambangan area as the territory of the Mengwi Kingdom
Based on the history known by I Made Rai Sujana, the Mekotek tradition is estimated to have been implemented in 1.700 AD during the heyday of the Mengwi Kingdom.
This tradition stems from the victory of the war troops named Goak Selem Troops because they were sent by the Mengwi Kingdom to defend the Blambangan area, East Java, which was the territory of the Mengwi Kingdom from attacks by other kingdoms.
“Because of that success, when Goak Selem’s troops returned to Munggu, the Mekotek tradition of using spears was carried out. This tradition is a form of respect for the hero for his victory in defending the territory of the Mengwi Kingdom in Blambangan,” he explained.
Apart from commemorating the victory of the Mengwi Kingdom in defending the Blambangan area, gradually the Mekotek tradition was recognized as having another function as a repellent to the Munggu Traditional Village.
This was after the Mekotek tradition was banned by the Dutch colonial government. It was thought it could start a rebellion using spears.
At that time, many people in the Munggu customary village experienced disease outbreaks until they died. Because the plague cannot be cured.
“Finally, the traditional and religious leaders at that time asked for guidance at Pura Dalem, Munggu customary village, and it was found that the cause was not implementing Mekotek. Then negotiations with the Dutch at that time. Finally, it was given, but the spear had to be replaced with wood. we negate this tradition because it is believed to be a repellent to reinforcements, “said Rai Sujana.
During the pandemic, the Mekotek tradition was limited.
Rai Sujana continued, if in previous years it involved thousands of people from the Munggu Traditional Village, now the Mekotek tradition is being implemented in limited numbers due to the pandemic. The Munggu customary village itself consists of 12 banjars, 1.130 families (heads of families), and a population of 4.000.
“Since the Kuningan celebration six months ago, we have decided that the Mekotek tradition is only followed by young people from 12 banjars in the Munggu customary village. In the past, nearly four thousand people were involved in the community. But now only 200 people,” he said.
According to him, this is the best solution that can be done after the traditional village has coordinated with the Badung Regency COVID-19 Handling Task Force, the Badung Regent, the Badung Police, and other related parties.
“We were warned not to cause crowds. On the one hand, we respect the government’s health program, on the other hand, we can still carry out our tradition of rejecting reinforcements and asking for safety,” he added.
The Mekotek tradition has now been included as Indonesia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
However, in a pandemic situation, the Munggu customary village decided not to open the Mekotek tradition for public viewing outside the traditional village.
“During the two hours of the implementation of Mekotek, the gates of the Munggu Traditional Village were be closed by pecalang,” he said.
photo by Instagram bali_k Kreatif