The richness of culture on the island of Belitung can no longer be denied its existence. Even though it has been squeezed by elements of modernization, some cultures are still preserved and we can see it until now. One of the distinctive and interesting cultures in Belitung that is interesting for us to explore is the Maras Taun Tradition. Maras Taun itself comes from two words namely "Maras" which means shortening or cutting and "Taun" which means years. Maras Tahun itself was held to commemorate the one-year agenda of the people's party that is celebrating the celebrations.
THE BEGINNING OF THE MARAS TAUN TRADITION
The emergence of the Maras Taun (Maras Taon) tradition originated from the people of the Nasik Strait Village, Mendanau Island, Belitung Regency. The people of Nasik Strait Village who work as farmers each year commemorate the field rice harvest day. Field rice itself is indeed different from other rice-diti because it can only be harvested after 9 months of planting. From here the celebration of the field rice harvest is carried out by the people of the Nasik Strait Village once every year.
DEVELOPMENT OF MARAS TAUN TRADITION
In its development, the commemoration of the harvesting of paddy fields in the Nasik Strait Village community expanded into a commemoration of all the residents of Mendanau Island. Perpetrators are also not only farmers, but also all professions such as fishermen and others. So the fishermen also celebrate this celebration of gratitude after the mackerel fishing season accompanied by calm sea conditions. Not only in the Mendanau Island community, but the tradition of Maras Taun later expanded its development to communities throughout the island of Belitung. From here Maras Taun became the tradition and culture of the Belitung people.
MARAS TAAD TRADITION EVENTS
In the Maras Taun tradition there are a series of events that will be held. Even so many events in Maras Taun, making this tradition must be held for three days. Later on the third day or the last day there will be a peak celebration of Maras Taun that the community has been waiting for. On the first and second day, Maras Taun there will be several art performances held. The art exhibited itself comes mostly from the Nasik Strait Village which is the place where the Maras Taun tradition emerged. Some of the arts performed on the first and second days of Maras Taun include Stambul Fajar, Dulmuluk Theater, Minang Plate Dance, and others. Not to forget there is also a single organ music stage which is presented to enliven the Maras Taun tradition.
Before the peak of Maras Taun was held on the third day, the community would prepare various things such as fresh flour, rakes / incense, and also water. Do not forget also before the peak of the ritual is held, there will be a procession to clean the village, led by a village shaman. The village cleansing ritual itself is carried out using neruse leaves and water.
PEAK CELEBRATION OF MARAS TAUN
On the third day, the celebration of Maras Taun reached its peak. At the peak of this celebration, several events were also held such as the Tumbuk Lesung dance performance and the song Maras Taun. The Tumbuk Lesung dance and the song Maras Taun itself are performed by 12 teenage girls by wearing a typical kebaya female farmer and her caping hat. The dance performed by itself depicts farmers who work on working and harvesting rice fields. While dancing, the 12 teenage girls also sang songs with lyrics that expressed gratitude for the harvests they obtained.
After the Maras Taun dance and song was staged, the top event continued with resentment. On this occasion a prayer of thanksgiving for the harvest was held. In the same vex, prayers were made for the blessing to harvest next year. The chanting of the prayer itself was led by two traditional elders. Later after the prayer is prayed the traditional elders will splash water mixed with Nereuse and Ati-ati leaves. This watering ritual is done as a symbol of removing bad luck for the villagers. In general, the peak of the Maras Taun ritual consists of a series of events, namely the initial prayer, Belitung tepong taw and closing prayer.
After reading the prayers and watering rituals then proceed with the fast scramble event. Lepat itself is a food made from red-field rice with a filling of chopped meat or pieces of fish. Later, the small sized lepat made in the thousands will be distributed to the community members. Now when a small lepat is divided, people will fight to get it. Lepat scramble event itself becomes a symbol of happiness and joy of the community over the harvests obtained.
In addition to the small lepat, at the peak of the Maras Taun event we will also find a large lepat weighing around 25 kg. So before small lepes are distributed to residents, large lepers will be cut first by local leaders or guests of honor. After being cut into pieces, large lepat will then be distributed to residents. The cutting and distribution of large lepat itself also has a meaning that is the leader who always serves his people.
THE MEANING OF MARAS TAUN
From the essence of its name, we will get the meaning of the Maras Taun tradition, namely the people who left last year with words of gratitude and also a request that next year many good things be obtained. Although Maras Taun has become a culture of the whole of Belitung, but routine celebrations every year are only scheduled in the Nasik Strait Village which is indeed the first place where the emergence of the Maras Taun tradition.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR MARAS TAUN
The routine celebration of Maras Taun in the Nasik Strait Village itself has been set as a tourist agenda and has also received support from the Bangka Belitung Province government. According to Deputy Governor of Bangka-Belitung namely Syamsudin, Maras Taun will be supported annually by the regional government with substantial funds. In fact, according to him the Regional Government will try to promote the title of Maras Taun as a tourism agenda ahead of the Visit of Babel Archi 2010. Moreover, Syamsuddin continued, he also tried to someday this Maras Taun could be known on the national scene. Syamsudin's determination to raise the prestige of Maras Taun itself is based on his attention to local traditions and culture. According to him, local traditions and culture are supposed to always be maintained, guarded and also made pride.
Not only was received a response from local officials, but Maras Taun also received enthusiastic welcome from the community. Even though it was held in the Strait of Nasik Village, the Maras Taun agenda was also visited by several people from Tanjung Pandan. And of course there are also some local and foreign tourists who are enthusiastic to watch the Maras Taun which is held in the Nasik Strait. With the enthusiasm of this audience, it has actually been seen how great the potential of Maras Taun is when it is made into the Belitung tourism agenda.