As the nuance and the joy of Eid Mubarok have not over yet, here I would like to share about one tradition of ours (Indonesian) during this celebration instead of wearing new clothes and eating too much . This tradition is called SUNGKEMAN, which is derived from sungkem, meaning to show respect by bowing on one’s hands and knees ( This ritual might have been vanished in several families, but mine is still doing that. As well as Keraton (palace)’s family, sungkeman in my family is held after Sholat Ied (Eid Al-Fitr prayer), to ask for forgiveness after all we have done these day, especially those things that have hurt our feelings. The young one is the one who bows to show his/her respect to the elder. 

The young one is bowing on his hands and knees to ask for forgiveness to elder.


The order of sungkeman might be different, depends on the family. Keraton’s family usually has numerous people who are willing to to do so to Sultan (the King of Yogyakarta and as a Governor of Yogyakarta). Hence, normally this ritual lasts for two/three days since commoners are allowed to wish Sultan Happy-Idul-Fitri. The participants include the family member of Sultan, followed by the regents, mayors, courtiers, and the commoners.

On the other hand, sungkeman in common families is only held once after the prayer (of Idul Fitri), with the member of families as participants. The elder one sits and receives the respect and forgiveness of the younger who bows. Simply, like Dad (as the elder one and the head of family) sits, then Mom bows and asks him for forgiveness for her faults. When they are done, Mom sits beside him and I bow to Dad then to Mom. Then, I sit next to Mom while my lil sister bow to Dad then to Mom then to me, and so on and so forth…

Actually, this ritual is not only held during Lebaran, but also during Mantenan (marriage ceremony) to ask for permission and forgiveness as well. Since Lebaran is celebrated annualy, ritual of sungkeman becomes strongly related to Eid Mubarok celebration. However, this is not an obligation, especially for those who live in perantauan (so far away from one’s family) and they cannot go home (mudik) to visit families during the celebration. But, asking for forgiveness still can be done (kinda obligation), especially during these days, in which skype and any other forms of social media are available to ease communication of human-beings.