Diversity Reflection in the Village (Part 2): “Suran” in Tutup Ngisor

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Hamlet Tutup Ngisor is located in Sumber Village, Dukun Subdistrict, Magelang Regency, Central Java. The distance from this hamlet to the subdistrict’s capital is approximately 3 km, and to the regency’s capital about 24 km. With an area of around 75 hectares and a population of 598, Tutup Ngisor holds significant potential due to its elevated position at 677 meters above sea level, providing fertile grounds. The majority of Tutup Ngisor’s residents are farmers engaged in cultivating rice and various crops such as cassava, vegetables, taro, and a few fruits.

The religious diversity within Tutup Ngisor is notable. The majority follow Islam, divided into two groups: Kejawen Islam, acknowledging their Islamic identity but not adhering to Islamic law (referred to as “abangan” Islam, within Clifford Geertz’s dichotomy), and santri Islam, devoutly following Islamic teachings.


In Tutup Ngisor, the largest group is the Kejawen Islam practitioners, mainly comprising the elderly. Their beliefs encompass a belief in both ancestral spirits and gods, alongside Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.

However, they do not observe Islamic practices like the five daily prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, or giving alms. This is because they believe that ancestral spirits and “sing mbau rekso,” the guardian spirits of Java Island and Tutup Ngisor, will grant their wishes as long as they continue to perform important rituals, especially the “Suran” ritual.

The second, much smaller group follows Islamic teachings such as the five daily prayers, Ramadan fasting, almsgiving, and some have undertaken the Hajj pilgrimage. This group not only dutifully follows Islamic teachings but also strongly values local customs, traditions, and rituals in Tutup Ngisor. A minority of Tutup Ngisor’s population is devoutly Catholic, attending church regularly while still adhering to the local customs, traditions, and rituals.

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