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MITONI - Ritual of Seventh Month of Pregnancy

When a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, at the seventh month of her pregnancy, a ritual ceremony is performed. Mitoni comes from the word “pitu” which means seven. The seventh month ceremony is aimed to get God’s blessings for the safety of the parents and the baby. It is also hoped that the whole family will live safe and sound, and be happy ever after.

The ceremony consists of the followings important steps :
  1. Holy bathing of the mother- to- be  
  2. Dressing up of the mother- to- be
  3. The “angreman” – eggs-hatching ceremony.

Offerings are prepared in place. 


Holy Bathing Ceremony (“Siraman”)

This ritual ceremony  usually takes place either in the bathroom or in a special place like in the backyard or special place designed for this purpose.

Siraman comes from the  word “siram” which means “To take a bath”. This holy bathing ceremony is meant to purify the baby and the mother- to- be.

The most important  item in this ceremony is the  the water which is usually put in the golden bowl. This water comes from seven springs and is mixed with several flowers like: rose, jasmin, magnolia and cananga .
The ceremony is usually  conducted on a bright sunny day ,  either in the morning or afternoon,  with a  ’gamelan’ music in the background . This ceremony is held in the the parent’s house of the mother- to- be.

In front of the Siraman place , sit the parents of the mother and father- to- be, other women family members who will also bath the mother- to- be and other guests who are also there to give their blessings.  Everyone is required to wear traditional dress.

The mother- to- be will then enter the place of  ceremony wearing only a loose white cloth without any accessories or jewellery. She is escorted by two ladies (usually her aunties or very closed family). She is then seated on a chair covered with an old mat depicting that a human being  should work in accordance with her/his ability.  The chair is also decorated with  several leaves of  opok-opok, alang-alang, oro-oro, dadap serep, awar-awar , and kluwih leaves - all these are depicting safety and  a more prosperous life.
The first person who get the honor to bath the mother-to-be are the grandfathers- to- be , and  the grandmothers- to- be (from both sides). Then  followed by several ladies who aready have grandchildren. Usually the total number of people who bath are seven. The number seven – in Javanese  “pitu”  could also mean “pitulungan” (to help others).

After the bathing ceremony the mother- to- be will also be purified by holy water  from an earthenware flask with a neck and spout called “kendi”. Once the water in the “kendi” is empty, it is broken on the floor. If the “kendi” is not broken, it is believed that the baby  will be a boy, otherwise it is going to be a girl.

The ceremony is usually  sacred as well as exciting.

“Tropong”  Going Thru

The next ritual is “Tropong” where a small wooden weaving instrument is pushed down thru a tube made from a seven colour textile cloth. This is depicting a smooth and safe delivery. But this   ritual is seldom performed nowadays.

“Siraman” Mataraman Tradition

Mataram is an other name for old Yogyakarta. Mataraman style “Siraman” is rarely performed anymore. In this tradition both mother and father are being bathed with holy water.

Dressing up the mother- to- be

In  another room , after the mother- to- be is  dried, another ritual is waiting . At this ritual, several elder women will help the mother- to- be to dress her up in  seven different “kain batik” (a long batik piece to be made as a long skirt) and seven different  “kebaya” (special Indonesian blouse designed as top of the batik skirt). There are actualy six batik and one lurik (striped) patterns used for this occassion. All patterns have its good wishes for family and the baby.

The pattern of ksatrian  depicts a responsible fighter , Wahyu tumurun – heaven’s revelation to live in honorable position. Sidomukti  - prosperity, etc.

One by one, batik and kebaya  are put on and everytime the invitees will be asked by the master of ceremony whether the combination is good enough or not and the attendees should always say together and loudly that –it is not. Only at the seventh (last) combination of Lurik lasem and the suitable “kebaya” will then the crowd loudly say “Yes, this is it”.

Lurik lasem is depicting a weaving of  a happy and strong love .It should last for a long time and should be the life of the family.

The lurik (used as a skirt) is tied up with a cord made from  coconut leaves and yarn. The cord will then be cut by the father –to- be ( husband)  using  keris which top has been covered  with turmeric. This  symbolises that all obstacles faced by the family  have been cut by the head of the family (the father- to- be).

After  he has cut the cord  he has to  take three steps back, turn around and run away outside the house. This action  depicts a smooth and safe birth of the baby.  


Two young yellow ‘gading’ coconuts pushed down  thru the lurik cloth. Both coconut fall down to the pile of unworn batiks , it is also depicting safe birth. The coconuts (of gading family-small and yellow in color means ivory) are carved  with drawing of God Kamajaya ( the handsome and faithful God) and Goddes Ratih-the beautiful and faithful goddess. The married couple should also have a faithful relation ever.

The baby shall be born safely and if a boy will be as handsome as Kamajaya or if a girl , be as beautiful as Ratih.
The father- to- be will take one of the coconuts and cut it in two. If the coconut cuts  into two , the crowd will say “A girl”. If the coconut remain round and only the water comes out , the crowd will say “ boy”.

Whether  the baby be a girl or a boy, the parents will accept and raise  him/her with love and responsibility.

The other coconut not chosen by the father- to- be will be hugged and held by the grandma- to- be who will put it on the bed of the parents to be.


Angrem is a Javanese word for egg hatching. The couple sits on the pile of batik cloths used for siraman as if they sit on eggs. It is hoped that the baby will be born in due time, safe and sound. Later on the couple will take different kind of food from the offering and place them on a big stone place (cobek) and both of them eat  together and finish them. The cobek depicting the baby’s placenta. In Yogyakarta the food from the offering should not contain meat or other food from a slaughtered animal. This is to strengthen the prayers of the parents so that the baby would be born safe and sound.

These coconuts and piled batik cloths should be put on the bed by elder family member,  preferably by the grandparents. Those  things should stay on the bed until the next morning and the parents- to- be should sleep on them. It is an exercise for the couple to take care of the baby patiently.

The next morning , the father- to- be should break the coconuts. But , if  suddenly another pregnant woman asks to have it, they should give them  to her. It symbolizes that in life people should not be egoistic , and helping one and another is appreciated.

The Legend of Mitoni and Angreman  

The Mitoni’s ritual has been held since ancient time.

Here is the legend :

There was a couple, the husband’s name was Ki Sedya and the wife’s name was Niken Satingkeb. She had  delivered nine babies but none of them lived for long.

The couple had requested many experts for advice but still no result.Feeling  desperate, they decided to ask then help of the King Jayabaya who was known as a wise man  who possessed super natural power.

The King was so close and helpful to his people. He then gave  fatherly advice to  the couple to do the ritual.  
The spiritual deed :

  1. The couple  had to purify themselves and pray solemnly expressing their wish to the Holy Creator, God The Almighty.
  2. The wife  had to take a Holy bathing with water from seven springs.

In this ritual ceremony , an offering has to be made available to strengthen the prayer as well as to avoid any difficulties and to get blessings from the God.

Apparently God  granted the wish of Ki Sedya and Niken Satingkeb to have a healthy baby. Later “mitoni” ceremony  was also called “tingkeban” in memory of (Niken Sa)tingkeb.   
The Offering (“Sesaji/sajen”)

Offering /Sajen is very imporant in the traditional Javanese ritual.  The aim  of an offering is like prayers. If prayer is done orally, the offering is done by preparing flowers, leaves and other agricultural products.

The Offering is meant to put highly God Almighty and it is a kind of prayers to God for blessings. It is also to remember the ancestors, their souls should live in peace in eternity and hopefully to get blessings from them.
Offerings are also meant for  the ritual to be more   smoothly and safe, avoiding evil deeds from spirits and other human beings.

Offering for “Mitoni” consists of :

1.  Old mat and plant leaves used for Siraman
2.  A life rooster, symbolizing that the family could live well in society.
3.  Seven kinds of rice cones , among other :

  • Tumpeng Megana ( with vegetables around the rice cone. The sprout means “growing” the life.
  • Tumpeng Robyong, means safety, loved by people.
  • Tumpeng Urubing Damar – light of lamp. Light of Life that is useful and respectful.
  • Tumpeng gundul – bold.

4.  Seven kinds of Sambal – hot spicy side dishes, manly from chilli-peppers . (The life becomes active and creative).
5.  Sambal Rujak mixed of sliced fruits with sambal sauce. (The life becomes fresh and lively).
6.  Dlingo bengle – herbs. (To avoid evil spririt).
7.  Sweet cookies made with peanut. Life is sweet.
8.  Vegetables side dishes . The children to be healthy.
9.  Seven ketupat (rice boiled in rhombust shaped packet of plaited young coconut leaves)  filled with ‘abon’ (slices of fried meat). (The way for the baby to get out is ready, it is only a matter of time).
10.  Egg of turtle to be put on top of the  Rice Cone Tumpeng Megana.Turtle is very strong and has a sensitive instinct.
11.  Traditional cakes , srabi (made from rice flour and coconut milk and klepon (it is a snack made from glutinous rice flour and sugar).
12.    Red and white porridge. Red porridge meant to remember and respect the mother, and the white is for the father.  
13.  Fruits
14.  Different kinds of rice: Gurih rice – cooked with coconut milk, Punar rice – cooked with  turmeric it becomes ‘yellow rice’, Kebuli rice
15.  Dolls : Boy and  girl. It symbolizes whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, it does not matter .
16.  The water dipper.

It is made from hard skinned  coconut . The coconut  cut into two symetrically, still contain the coconut meat. There is a hole made at the bottom of the coconut, a handle is fixed on top of it. As we know that coconut tree is very useful from its leave, fruit as well as the tree/wood.  It symbolysis that the baby would be born like a coconut tree – a very useful human being.

Selling of Rujak and Dawet

At the end of the Ritual, the couple is selling Rujak (mixed  slices fruits with hot sambal= made of red sugar and chilli) and Dawet (sweet refreshment drink , the juice is made from coconut milk mixed with small pieces of cookies made from flour and its color is green).

The payment is made with a piece of earthened roof tile  which is previously prepared by the host.

Rujak is symbolizing an enthusiastic life  and Dawet is depicting a smooth and safe birth of the baby.


The Mitoni ceremony is usually held on Saturday “Wage” (= name of Javanese day), its acroym is Tu Ge, Tu Ge is also an acronym  of Metu Gage means comes out quickly.

The meaning actually is the baby expected to be born soon safely and in  good condition.

Suryo S.Negoro
Translated by Arie Suryo & Angela Sri Utami
Edited by Roswita Nimpuno Khaiyath BA ( Hons), M.A. NAATI  Prof.