The visual story of a traditional javanesse wedding.

Maybe you’ll think this post contains to many photos, but I tried my best to choose only a few from 1000+ photos that I shot. So be patient and go through all, this is a special wedding event even for Indonesia.

It all started 1 month ago when some friends asked me to helped them with photos for the poster of an event. You have to understand sometimes our communication is bad, they don’t speak english and my indonesian is limited.

– For what you need the photos?
– Pak Kodok (Mister Frog) is getting married.
– What? (Pak Kodok is a local artis around 63 years old)
– Yeah he is getting married with a spirit and we need pre-weeding photos.
– Not sure I really understand, what spirit, is he really getting married?

After 30 min I kind of understood what was all about, but still couldn’t believe it: they will organize a traditional javanesse wedding, but not a regular marriage, this will be between a man and a spirit. In the javanesse tradition is normal for a man to get married with a spirit or a tree or even a mountain, animism. So one night we meet to take the pre-wedding photo that was used for the poster and invitations of the event. It took us around 2 hours and after several different angels and light set up we made it, and I have to say I am proud of the final result.


Still the next days I was confused. I was trying to speak with different people about the event and they all said is a theater event but they didn’t excluded the mystique implications. And this is something that I often saw/felt in Indonesia, for them art is connected with the mysticism.

The wedding party for Kodok Ibnu Sukodok and his bride named Roro Setyowati took place in Ngawi village, East Java and it was choreographed and presented as an attractive live art event by a locally revered artist, Bramantyo Prijosusilo, who also played as host.

I arrived there 1 day earlier and I was surprised, a lot of locals were helping organizing this event, men with building the decorations, women with cooking, you could really feel the sense of community. Also hundreds of locals and  even government officials came to see Pak Kodok, shake his hand, take a photo with him and even ask him for an advice.

One day before the event we went to a forest (Sendang Margo) near the village, there you can see this mighty kepuh tree, the one and only big tree standing there. This is the door from which Bramantyo Prijosusilo took the fairy Setyowati back to his home for her midodareni ceremony the night before her wedding. People from the village next to this forest said they dreamed that night. A fairy named Setyowati bid farewell to them as she said she was going off to get married.

The next day the event started with siraman (shower – cleaning ritual), followed by different “happening art” performances held by various artist from Solo and Jogja. Around 1000 people attended the event.

Of course everyone present could only see the human groom, while spiritualists claimed the ritual was also attended by Javanesse spiritual beings such as the queen of the southern seas, Nyi Roro Kidul, and Sabdo Palon, a “saint” according to indigenous Javanesse spiritualism (Kejawen). Around midnight the event ended but people didn’t wanted to leave, they stayed around the house until 2:00 am watching every move of Pak Kodok.

To get a sense of the atmosphere around you can watch this short movie made by my friend Agus. Enjoy.

Don’t forget if you like one of my photo on your wall, or for other use check my goodies page, this is the only way I can continue my trip.


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