Melayu Natuna community proudly retains their cultural heritage. One of those is the Tepung Tawar ritual to remove misfortunes. It is done for newborn babies, or during circumcision and wedding rituals.
There is much philosophical significance in the Tepung Tawar ritual. This issue is observed by UGM students joining a Student Creativity Program on socio-humanist issues. The team consists of Ghilman Nafadza Hakim, Ega Kusuma Ahimsa, and Selma Mutiara Hani.
According to Ghilman, the tradition of Tepung Tawar ritual of Melayu Natuna community has specific traits that are strong in Malay cultures. There are many advices and local wisdom attached to it which is very important for the Melayu Natuna people. “Circumcision in Tepung Tawar ritual has plenty of forbiddance that affects the healing of the circumcision,” said Ghilman on Monday (16/7) at UGM.
Some forbiddance in Tepung Tawar ritual if abused can give misfortunes to the boy. The research found some correlation between such belief and medical views related to this forbiddance that eventually affects the reproductive health of the child.
Rituals of Tepung Tawar that are still carried out by the Melayu Natuna people despite global change, said Ghilman, are proof that the ancestor’s heritage is still observed by the people.
“We conclude that by applying their ancestor heritage, the Melayu Natuna people can more understand their ancestor and eventually retain such cultures even until today,” he said.
Ega Kusuma Ahimsa, another team member, said the Tepung Tawar ritual is very important for the people of Natuna as a form of obedience towards their ancestors. In his opinion, this research will help the local government to register the cultures of Natuna regency.
Natuna is a regency in Riau Island Province that borders with neighbouring countries (Singapore and Malaysia). So, it needs to be appreciated that the local people still preserve the Malay culture well.