Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Jaranan In Java | Jay Tindall

Photo © Jay Tindall- All Rights Reserved
I've always been interested in documenting the unusual or lesser known religious traditions (especially those of Asia) whether these were derived from mainstream religions or were stand-alone. It was this interest that guided me to photograph a number of such traditions, including Vietnam's Đạo Mẫu which I documented for two years and produced a photo book of which I'm very proud of.

It's with this frame of mind that I discovered the tradition of Jaranan; an age old Javanese tradition though the photo blog post Exorcism In The Volcano's Shadow by photographer/entrepreneur Jay Tindall.

His blog post describes this tradition as " intense ritual of spiritual passion and trance-induced savagery", so I won't duplicate the interesting contents of his post, except to say that Jaranan is a dramatic genre of a horse dance performed in Java.

The most prominent feature of these performances is the trance dancers who establish contact with the spirits of their ancestors. These ancestors -in common with most Asian traditions- have a significant impact on the lives of their descendants, whether in fulfilling wishes or resolving problems and issues.

I have witnessed many of such trances during religious-traditional events, and they all follow a similar pattern. The person in a trance makes him or her totally self absorbed, and grants them a sense of total liberation from their surroundings. 

Jay Tindall also videotaped the scenes at the ceremony (possibly graphic to some) which confirm a similarity to other religious-induced trances that I've witnessed in other parts of Asia. 

Jay Tindall is the co-founder of a travel company, and it is through his work that he investigates Asia’s most interesting destinations.