Learning about Diversity from Balun Village in Lamongan

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Talking about local wisdoms in Lamongan Regency cannot be separated from one of the old villages in the Regency, Balun Village. It is located in the north of town center of Lamongan Regency. It becomes a religious tourism spot by providing uniqueness from the community and local wisdoms. Based on stories from local customs, the name Balun village comes from the word “Mbah Alun”.

Mbah Alun is King of Blambangan who was born in Lumajang. Mbah Alun studied Qur’an from Sunan Giri IV (Sunan Prapen), finished learning, he returned to his place to spread the religion before being appointed King of Blambangan. During his reign in 1633-1639 Blambangan was attacked by the Dutch and Mataram until it was destroyed. Mbah Alun fled towards Lamongan area to seek refuge.

He hid around Candi Pari, before finally spreading Islam in this area until the end of his life. He is also referred as “Sunan Tawang Alun” and his name was enshrined to be the name of the village, “Balun”. In addition, he also got the name Sin Arih because he hid his identity as a king.

After the G30S incident, precisely in 1967, Christianity began to enter and develop in this village. Starting from the vacuum of power, a temporary official was appointed, it was a soldier named Pak Bathi. Pak Bathi itself was Christian so from here Christianity began to develop. As time went by, Pak Bathi appointed a pastor to baptize the new adherents, with the attitude of openness and high tolerance addressed to Balun community as well as the non-violent method of preaching made many people embrace Christianity.

In the same year Hinduism entered this village. The figure was Thardono Sasmito from Plosowahyu Village. As a religion, Hindu migrants developed slowly and began to pray at the house of traditional leaders, before finally built their respective place of worship.

The difference in religiosity does not make Balun society arbitrary and applies discriminative towards others, instead they look after each other. Such social interaction gives birth to distinctive cultures and influences the interaction of multi-religions that occur. Such social interactions give rise to interpretations of cultural symbols that are different from other regions. For example, when there is a celebration like kenduren, surely every adult man who is present will wear kopyah, and women must wear veils, so in this place a symbol like this does not only belong to Muslims but belongs to all.

When a person dies the village community always perform traditional feast ceremonies, a kind of tahlilan performed by all religions which is intended to send prayers to person who has died. Prayer collaboration according to each religion and belief was so sacred and different from the general.

The diversity is deeply felt from this community when one of these religions have their holidays, the people of other religions will secure the course of religious ceremonies and holidays, such as when the Christian community celebrate Christmas, the youth of the Muslims will guard the church with the military force and the National Police. It is common among Balun people, so outsiders will sense the peace and sense of belonging to one another as stated in the Pancasila in this place for generations.

To see this kind of local wisdom, people or tourists can see on the day before Nyepi holiday. The culture shown in the ceremony ogoh-ogoh and the burning of statues of Wrath in the village square felt so exotic and luxurious that it is worth to see directly and the people are also polite and welcome to guests and tourists.


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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).