Ketupat Lepas, Not the Name of the Food but the Ritual of Repayment of Nazar

When you hear the word ketupat, what comes to mind is a type of food made from rice wrapped and cooked in coconut leaves. Moreover, Betawi cuisine is famous for its vegetable ketupat. However, did you know that in Betawi culture there is the term 'Ketupat Lepas'. The term Ketupat Lepas is not related to the type of food, but a Betawi traditional ritual.

Ketupat Lepas is a ritual associated with the vows of someone who is having an intention. The Ketupat Lepas ritual is carried out by holding the Kembang Topeng event, which signifies that the owner of the intention has fulfilled his vow. The ceremony is carried out with a ketupat placed on top of yellow rice mixed with coins.

At the same time the Kembang Topeng and the person who has nazar (a promise to do something when his/ her hopes come true) held the ketupat and from inside someone read a prayer. After the prayer has been read, the ketupat are pounded and the money is fought over by the children who are ready in the front.

The Ketupat Lepas ceremony is carried out after Neptu, that is, when the Betawi mask theater is performed in connection with a vow. Nazar was once said by the owner of the intention when his family got a disaster. For example, children who are born die in succession or there are children who are often sick.

To overcome this disaster, the owner of the intention said, if the child who was born does not die or if the child is no longer sick, then later when he gets married or if he is circumcised, a mask will be summoned. The Ketupat Lepas ceremony performed for the child with the nazar serves as a sign that the vow has been paid in the presence of Kembang Topeng and the audience.

The Ketupat Lepas ceremony is carried out using a ketupat skin that is placed on a plate containing rice (people often use dry rice) and coins. The plate is held by the person who has said the votive, and the ketupat is held by two people, one end is held by the Kembang Topeng and the other end is held by the votive.

A ceremonial leader who usually also doubles as the chairman of the association, a fiddler or someone who is considered old will recite a spell, and before that he will ask the audience for a request by shouting.

As an example, the following is a recording of the spell of the Ketupat Lepas ceremony from the Betawi Marga Sari masquerade association. If the Ketupat Lepas ceremonial spell from Kanda Wetan compared to the mantra from Kanda-Kulon, then the mantra of the Kanda-Wetan Betawi masquerade is longer, and also doesn't sound sacred.


“Manusia tanpa cita-cita adalah mati. Cita-cita tanpa kerja adalah mimpi. Idaman yang menjadi andalan adalah kebahagiaan.”
- Ali Sadikin -
Gubernur DKI Jakarta 1966 - 1977
“Emang rejeki kagak kemane, tapi kalo lo gak kemane-mane mana mau dapet rejeki.”
- H. Benyamin Sueb -
Seniman Betawi