Lebaran in Indonesia and Ketupat

Eid will be here soon. If you are Indonesian, you’re surely familiar with ketupat. Eid al Fitr ketupat tradition has become an inseparable part of Indonesian society.

Why ketupat? When was the tradition of making ketupat started? Unfortunately, there is no scientific references on this special food. However, there are estimates which stated that tradition of making ketupat has existed since the advent of Islam to Java, circa 1400’s.


In the Java language, ketupat called kupat This word derived from the syllables ku = ngaku (admit) and pat = lepat (guilty). So the ketupat symbolize admitting guilt.

Eid ketupat tradition could be associated with the role of the Trustees, particularly Walisongo in the spread of Islam in Indonesia.

Perhaps, the tradition already existed in pre-Islamic era in the archipelago, as well as the tradition of selamatan that already existed and flourished in Indonesia. But the tradition of kupatan acquired a new twist on the age of the spread of Islam by Walisongo. In order to bring the accommodative or acculturative tradition in the Java community and the archipelago in general.

In terms of language, kupatan (Javanese) presumably derived from the word Kaffatan (Arabic) obtain changes in speech sounds into kupatan in Javanese. Same as the word baraka (Arabic) became berkat (Javanese) or salama (Arabic) became selamet (Javanese).

Hence the term, it can be stated that kupatan is a symbol of the end of the fasting month and mark an excellence or kaffatan in the individual and community living. So kupatan tradition is a marker of person’s Islamic which became perfect.

As in the Qur’an mentioned:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy. [QS Al Baqara 207]

In the conception of Wali Allah, kupatan symbolize someone who had entered Islam completely. The indications are as follows:

1. Already implementing fast as tazkiyat al nafs
2. Implement the zakat tazkiyat al mal
3. And also hablum min al-nas in the form of silaturrahmi to apologize to his fellow man.

Such people described as a kaffah, perfect. His life has entered the world of fitrah, sacred in the religious conception.

In addition, people say, ketupat or Kupat derived from the words laku papat. Laku means actions, papat means four. Four deeds performed only during Ramadan until 1 Shawwal are: the fasting of Ramadan, Tarawih, Zakat, and Eid prayers.

The tradition of serving ketupat on Eid day is not only in Indonesia, but also in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, as well as Cocos Islands (Australia).

The shape of ketupat resembles the shape of a heart. People said, the complexity of webbing that wraps ketupat is a symbol of many gulits that wraps our hearts.

“Taqabbalallahu minna waminkum… Ja’alanallahu wa iyyakum minal aidzin wal faidzin”

Eid Mubarak, for every Muslim in the world.

translated from here: Makna di Balik Ketupat Lebaran


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