Anak Ambar: A Ritual of Nurturing the Spirit of a Dead Child

Among the Betawi people there are rituals or customs to call the name of a child who died before becoming an adult or reaching puberty, or also a child who died while still in the womb (miscarriage) or a child who died at birth.

This ritual is to maintain or guard the spirit of a child who has died and can be reincarnated at any time. The spirit of the child who is nurtured is called anak ambar or also called the spirit of el kawakib. The spirit of the anak ambar must be nurtured by his parents with great affection.

The word ambar comes from Sanskrit which means "to disappear". The tradition of raising anak ambar is also known in the Chinese community, but the philosophical basis is different. Chinese people raise anak ambar for good luck. While the Betawi people take care of anak ambar in order to maintain spiritual balance.

In the Betawi tradition, anak ambar are named and called as if the person concerned is still alive. In the past, there were also people who took care of the amber child by making a small mosquito net, clothes, and sometimes shoes, in miniature.

Anak ambar can be asked for help for sacrifices. While in Chinese society, the tradition is "enriched" by giving him shoes and mini clothes. Then on certain nights, especially the day or night of his death, offerings will be provided in the form of plantains, chicken eggs, and water.

There are also some people who believe that amber children can give away their mother's wealth (or those who adopt them), so that amber children are usually treated like living humans even though they cannot be seen with the eye.

Some people also believe that raising an anak ambar can help fulfill any request, whether in terms of economy, romance, career, business, friendship, other specific problems. Also as a magical protector to avoid all threats of other parties' supernatural work.

Bujaka - Aplikasi Budaya Jakarta

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