‘Akeke’, Betawi Tradition

Akikah is a procession to give thanks and pray for a newborn baby. Betawi people call the akekeh tradition. In the book ‘Siklus Betawi, Upacara dan Adat Istiadat’, written by Yahya Andi Saputra, et al (2000), it is stated that before carrying out the akikah procession, there is a tradition that Betawi people usually do when they are blessed with a child. As is the tradition of the Muslim community, in the Betawi family, if the baby is born and before the umbilical cord is cut, the father or other male relatives will immediately say the call to prayer in the right ear and say in the left ear. The call to prayer and iqomat is intended to instill the Islamic faith in children from the beginning. This Azan and Qamat are tayyibah sentences which are the first words and sentences that the baby hears in the hope that they will carry over to adulthood. The hope is that he will become a pious human being and hate disobedience. After that, the umbilical cord is cut and the placenta is inserted into a pendil or kendil (jar) which has been filled with seven kinds of flowers and then buried near the cherry tree in front of the house or under the bed. At night, the tomb of the placenta is fitted with a cempor lamp.


Especially for the mother who has just given birth, her family will make dishes from fresh leaves. Usually, in a Betawi family, relatives and other relatives will also deliver food, food, and baby equipment. This period is called mapas, which is the time to restore freshness for mothers who have just given birth. He is required to eat clean vegetables, namely vegetables katuk, spinach, or kale. Betawi specialties in herbal medicine, such as sambetan, daon sembung, aer goddogan, aer daon kumis kucing (java tea or cat’s whiskers), and kayu rapat (Eliminating uterine pain after childbirth). A few days later (three days to a week) a new celebration is held to welcome the birth of the baby. The slametan is called akikah or akeke. Akikah is a ceremony of salvation (for a newborn child) by slaughtering a goat. This slametan ceremony for the Betawi people is carried out once in their life. But those who are rich can do it every year, especially in the month of Dzulhijjah or the Hajj season. This month it is sunnah to sacrifice by slaughtering animals such as goats or cows/buffaloes, following the Shari'a of Prophet Ibrahim.


This salvation ceremony is carried out no later than a week after the birth of the baby aka the baby. Or with a grace period of 7, 14, and 21 days after birth. This is also associated with the shaving ceremony, as a symbol of the inauguration of naming the baby. In Islamic history, this ceremony was carried out as a reaction to the jahiliyyah tradition. In the period of jahiliyyah, where daughters are buried alive, newborns are usually soaked with the blood of the slaughtered animal. This jahiliyyah habit was then eradicated and cleansed by Islam and replaced with akikah. The hadith narrated by Tirmizi from Ayesha states that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) ordered his companions to akikah two goats for a son and one goat for a daughter.


The akikah procession contains many lessons of wisdom, including: (1) it is a sacrifice that brings the child closer to Allah from the very beginning of his life; (2) is a ransom for the child which in due course the animal's aqeekah will be manifested in the form of intercession on the Day of Resurrection to his parents; (3) strengthen ties of brotherhood and love among members of the community by gathering in one place to welcome the arrival of a newborn child and (4) as a means that can realize the principles of social justice and eliminate the symptoms of poverty in society, for example with the presence of meat given to the poor.

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