'Nyenggol' tradition enlivens Ramadhan at Pegayaman
Anton Muhajir, Contributor, Buleleng | Sat, 09/20/2008 11:36 AM | Bali
After breaking fast and conducting evening prayer, Nyoman Alvin Gautama, 7, and his sister Made Eva Nadya, 12, hurriedly left their house, carrying with them their precious merchandise.
It was a large sheet of white paper upon which the two kids had fastened various candies, crackers, sachets of instant powdered drinks — things that children would love to get their hands on.
Each item had a small sticker bearing a distinctive number attached to it.
Upon their arrival at the road intersection that separates the Banjar (traditional neighborhood association) Dauh Margi from Banjar Dangin Margi, they hanged the paper on a bamboo fence and opened their business.
All at once a group of children flocked around the make-shift stall, some gave Nadya Rp 100 (1 US cent) coins. For every single coin, Nadya gave them in return a tiny piece of rolled paper.
The customers enthusiastically unfolded the rolled papers. Several of them found that their papers bore numbers that corresponded with the numbers of specific items hanging on the bamboo fence.
Those were the lucky customers, who could claim a pack of biscuits worth Rp 2,000, or others, for only Rp 100.
The unlucky ones found inside their rolled paper a sentence “Kasian Deh Lu” (Ouch, Poor You).
In less than 30 minutes, Nadya and Gautama had run out of rolled papers. Business was good that night. “Each night we collect up to Rp 10,000 (US$1.05) in revenue,” Gautama said.
The child entrepreneurs, however, didn’t keep a close tab on their business’s cash flow. For instance, they had no idea how much money they had spent to start their business operation.
“I only gave them Rp 50,000 as capital for a month-long operation,” Gautama’s father, Nengah Panji Islam, 42, disclosed.
Gautama responded calmly, claiming that making profit was not the primary objective of the business enterprise. “Being able to participate in Nyenggol already gives us a lot of joy,” he said.
Nyenggol is a tradition carried out by the Pegayaman children every Ramadan fasting month, during which they open and run a colorful evening market around the village’s main intersection.
Lying some 80 kilometers north of the provincial capital of Denpasar, Pegayaman is a unique village of a predominantly Muslim population that maintains a rare blend of Muslim and traditional Balinese cultures.
The Muslims in the village, which has a total population of 5,000, still retain the distinctive Balinese surnames in front of their Arabic-influenced last names.
The results are interesting names like Made Saiful Kohir, Ketut Asghar Ali and Nengah Panji Islam.
Another example of the cultural blend is the Ngejot tradition, in which each family sends a gift of meals and cakes to its neighbors prior to major religious festivals. This tradition also exists among the Balinese Hindus.
Nyenggol usually starts at around 6:30 p.m. as the child traders crowd the village’s sidewalks and open make-shift stalls for their merchandise.
The market sells a wide array of products ranging from fruits, soybean tofu to mouth-watering satay.
Most of the traders are elementary school children. The rest are junior high school students. Most of the customers are also children.
Nengah Maghfiroh sells fresh fruits — oranges, snakefruits and mangoes — at very competitive prices. A sweet mango, for example, is sold only for Rp 300 (30 US cents).
“Here, a Rp 100 coin can still buy you something, while in the cities a Rp 500 coin will often get you nothing,” she said.
In a nearby stall, a boy sold satay for Rp 200 per skewer.
Naturally, the market’s atmosphere is one of joy and noisy excitement.
The market is closed when the village’s mosque carries the voice of the melodic adzan, calling in Muslims for evening prayer.
The Nyenggol tradition, according to Nengah Panji Islam, was a much-awaited event during his childhood.
“The tradition has been there since I was a child. We children always welcomed Ramadan with a raw excitement because we knew that we would participate in Nyenggol,” he recalled.
This article published at http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/09/20/039nyenggol039-tradition-enlivens-ramadhan-pegayaman.html