Semarang is one of main cities in Indonesia and also becomes capital of Central Java province, Indonesia. Yeach, only 120 km from Jogjakarta and 100 km from Solo (Surakarta). It also serves as main port for Central Java. Indonesian people has so many variations for celebrating the forthcoming Ramazan or fasting month, and Semarangese has got its own tradition as well. One week before the fasting month, there will be held a kind of so-called DUGDERAN (read doog-there-un) market. The market is only held annually before Ramazan and placed in two grand mosques in Semarang (Masjid Agung Semarang and Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah). The market will be ended on the sunset when the mayor and the grand mosque ulama announce time for fasting month in front of people, and the speech is in Javanese. The tradition has been long time and becomes an iconic event for Semarangese.
But, the most iconic thing during Dugderan market here is what local called Warak Ngendog (read wuh-ruck ngn-dock). It is an imaginary creature appears as children’s toy during Dugderan market. Warak Ngendog means like this…warak is originally from Arabic word, wara’ : stay away from useless things, while ngendog derives from endog (egg) means laying egg.
Physically, Warak Ngendog is ambiguous. Why? As it looks like combinations between goat, dragon and camel. Other versions describe it as mixture between horse, Chinese lion, bull and so on. And in some Warak Ngendog toys, there is an egg laid between its legs or directly under its tail. It is believed that Warak Ngendog is actually representations of three main ethnic groups who live in Semarang. As you see that Semarang, demographically, consists of Javanese as majority, followed by Chinese and Arabs which have got their own influence to color Semarang cultural face.
So how come?
Javanese element is represented through its body which looks like a Javanese goat. While its head shows Chinese influence, dragon looked. And then Arabs is represented by its curly hair. Or in another version Arab is appeared through its neck which assembled to camel. However typically its hair is various…you can see it in curly, straight or wavy as well as colorful. Mostly the colors are red, blue, green and yellow.
The philosophy of Warak Ngendog as far as I know here is face of Semarangese itself. Its straight head and body angle show straightforwardness which becomes Semarangese characteristic. Long neck and straight head, fanged, as well as hairy, symmetrical body which is intermingle between horse, camel’s neck and dragon head on which show how ‘melting pot’ Semarang is. As toys, it is sold at least IDR 15,000 and completed with wheels for kiddies. Then now, it has been one of Semarangese icon. Warak Ngendog can be seen in several occasions especially related to Semarang, and it will be developed become the typical icon, not just for celebrating Ramazan as its origin functions but also for Semarang’s tourism symbol.
16 July 2011
Posted also at : http://bambangpriantono.multiply.com/journal/item/3178/