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Ponco Kentang Ritual, East Java

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Sumber Brantas Village, Bumiaji District, Batu City, Malang, East Java, is known as the best potato producer in East Java. Potato production from this village is the second best in Indonesia. Potatoes in Sumber Brantas Village are known as Skyline Potatoes, because this potato field is at the foot of Mount Arjuno and Welirang. The potatoes produced are quite large in size and taste delicious. As the best potato producing village, the lives of the people of Sumber Brantas Village are not far from the activity of planting potatoes. They even have traditional rituals before potatoes are planted. This ritual is known as Ponco Kentang.


Ponco is a Javanese term which means planting. Thus, Ponco Kentang is a ritual, which is carried out just before planting potatoes. The ritual, which is carried out in the middle of the fields, is usually carried out to start the potato planting season. Ponco Kentang is held to offer prayers so that the potato plants would be safe from all plant diseases. During the ritual, farmers provided a number of types of food, complete with wungkul ingkung or whole roasted free-range chicken. As time progressed, some farmers carried out this ritual in their homes. However, some others still maintain old customs, continuing to carry out rituals in the fields.


Before the Potato Ponco ritual began, prayers were chanted in Javanese by the elders of Sumber Brantas Village. After saying a prayer together, Ponco Kentang process began. Elders and the people of the village put 16 potato seeds into the ground. Sixteen potato seeds is not just a number. This number has apparently been determined from the Javanese calendar, where the day for planting potatoes falls on Saturday Pon. In this ritual, people must pay attention to the Javanese calendar. After planting the 16 potato seeds, farmers are free to plant their fields.

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