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Superstitious Javanese Catholics gathered on Tuesday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Kumetiran, Yogyakarta, for a ruwatan — a traditional ritual to free people from bad luck and misfortune.
Parish priest Father Simon Atas Wahyudi led 68 people in honoring their parents, cutting their hair and having water sprinkled on their heads. A shadow puppet show followed the traditional ritual.
According to Father Wahyudi, participating in a ruwatan “doesn’t mean we don’t have God’s protection, because we are already baptized.”
He said Javanese Catholics joining the cleansing ritual should keep their faith and express love and hope.
A popular ruwatan conducted since ancient time is Ruwatan Murwakala, aimed at cleansing the bodies and souls of those with sukerta – bad luck or bad fate.
Sukerta has three categories: sukerta due to birth, sukerta due to accidents, and sukerta due to bad fate. Gedhana-gedhini, or the only boy and a girl in the family, is considered sukerta due to birth.