Bubur Merah Putih

Do you know the philosophy behind the sweet and savory taste of red and white porridge?

Victoria Tunggono   08 September 2016 18:16

Brilio.net - Indonesia is a country rich in cultural traditions that are passed on from generation to generation.

Bubur Merah-Bubur Putih, shortened as Bubur Merah-Putih, or Red and White Porridge, is just one prominent example. 

Bubur means porridge, merah is red and putih is white. Merah Putih itself is the term used to refer to Indonesia's national flag, which contains only these two colors: the equal horizontal bands of red and white, similar to Monaco’s. Taking the duo colors way back, red-and-white were also the colors of the ancient Majapahit Kingdom. 

In West Java, the Sundanese serves this red and white porridge in several occasions: upon giving baby a name, upon changing someone’s name, upon building a house, and on the 10 Muharram in Hijri (Islamic) calendar. It is believed that each name is a prayer. Thus a person’s name contains the parents’ wishes and celebrated in a ritual to give soul to the name. The same ritual is conducted when someone is changing names if they think the name is too heavy for them to carry, which usually cause certain bad luck or unnatural illness in their lives.

 

via GIPHY

 

The red and white porridge is also served along with other food in order to express the owner’s gratitude to be able to build a house on Indonesian land. It is believed to symbolize the education of the motherland, or in Indonesian translates as tanah air, with tanah (earth) represented with red and air (water) represented with white.

Much later when Islam enters Indonesia, Muslims adopt the tradition on 10 Muharram in Hijri upon celebrating Asyura. The porridge is called Sura, which is given away after the Sura celebration in the morning by ‘the haves’, clerics, religious leaders, or generous people as commemoration to the last war of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Sayyidina Husein.

Another belief says that red and white porridge had been made since the era of Noah. On his last moments sailing with the giant ark, Noah and his group were short of food and had to save food as best as they could. They mixed together all of the ingredients they had to create this red and white porridge combination.

 

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