Grave of Putri Ayu


Releasing Chickens

and Other Animals

at Sacred Graves

C. speaking with men who were praying at the grave of Putri Ayu.

Upon arrival at the grave of Putri Ayu, an elderly woman was currently enjoying her lunch of rice, chicken, and an assortment of vegetables. I sat down next to the grave and quietly waited for her to finish, while observing a horde of ants making off with a large cockroach leg.

After she finished, and her letting out a long deep burp, I asked her her name as I introduced myself. She told me her name was Ibu Sopia and that she has been the caretaker of the grave of Putri Ayu for five years.

I explained to Ibu Sopia that I was a language student, and to study the language I incorporate the study of Jambi history and culture, and that at this time I was currently gathering information on the practice of releasing animals (ayam lepas) at graves considered to be sacred (makam keramat).

Ibu Sopia explained to me that in addition to praying at sacred graves, people will also bring offerings, such as various types of flowers, like:  Bunga kemboja, bunga melati, bunga tanjung, bunga cempaka or bunga kantil. Chinese Indonesians, following Buddhism  or Confucius religions, will also offer apples, oranges, and bananas, while burning incense.

After concluding prayers at sacred graves, Ibu Sopia told me that people will then release a chicken, goat, cow, and at times, some people will even release a water buffalo. Ibu Sopia said that at the grave of Putri Ayu, people release chickens around 2-3x per month, whereas a goat will be released about 1x every three months. She said the she has never seen people released a cow or a water buffalo there for as long as she’s been the caretaker of the grave (5 yrs).`

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The Reincarnation of Putri Ayu

It was said that the crocodile was a Tomistoma schlegelii (a type with a long pointed snout.

It was said that the crocodile was a False Gharial, or  Tomistoma Schlegelii (the crocodile which has a long pointed snout). This picture was taken at a crocodile breeding farm in Jambi.

We came upon an interesting event that took place in February 2009, and it was what is believed by many to have been the reincarnation of a famous Jambi personality, Putri Ayu.1

According to legends, this woman was to have been the wife of a former sultan/king. You can read our translated legend about this woman with this link, as well as read about her sacred grave with this link.

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Grave of Putri Ayu

C. doing research at the Grave of Putri Ayu. The two men were praying when he arrived, and were more than happy to discuss what they knew about Putri Ayu.

One interesting way to learn about a culture of a given ethnic group is to learn about their beliefs surrounding death and their method of burial. In association with that, is what takes place at the grave site after burial.

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