Sekaten stands for a Javanese ceremony that’s usually a week long in celebration of the birth of prophet Muhammad and first established by the Sultan Hamengkubuwono I of Yogyakarta. The festivities take form of festivals or a night market (pasar madam) which I went to for a while yesterday evening at the northern square (alun-alun) of the city. I didn’t get the chance to go last year so I made sure I went this time because it’s not everyday that this happens. Let me tell you, I’ve never been in a carnival or a fair in Santa Monica but I do think that Sekaten is just or maybe even more fun than that!
When I approached the venue, the square was just a burst of color with the brightly lit ferriswheels (yes with an ‘s’ because there were 2 of them) and various other fun rides including “Wall of Death” motorbike shows that I never thought would be done in Indonesia. Families, couples, children, everyone’s faces were so happy because they were able to take a break from the busyness of life and I was so thrilled to be a part of them.
However, beside rides and ghost houses it was an enormous shopping adventure. There were a bunch of kiosks selling things from heavily discounted clothes, children’s toys, bags, shoes, to even homeware supplies and a fish spa session! Nope, it doesn’t stop there my friends, because I couldn’t even begin to describe just how many food stalls that served Indonesian delicacies that would keep you full and energized to enjoy the night. For you foodies that live to eat, I’m sure that you’ll never run out of choices in Sekaten. Another interesting thing I saw was that at one section of the market, there were stands represented by every regency in Jogja which I thought was a really smart and unique idea.
My first visit to Sekaten left me with a lasting impression because it shows that it doesn’t take a lot for people here to have a good time. Amidst other events like film festivals in Jogja, Sekaten is becomes a celebration of the people where anyone from anywhere can join so there’s a balance to everything. The night-time festivities will go on until January so if you find yourselves in Jogja, make sure you take a visit.