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Karapan Sapi – Madura Traditional Bull Racing Festival – East Java Indonesia

Karapan Sapi – Madura Traditional Bull Racing Festival – East Java Indonesia
Madura is the name of island that located on the north east of East Java. The dimensions of Madura island is almost 5.168 km2(smaller than Bali Island) with 4 million inhabitants.

There is a national bridge to be the main gate to enter Madura-Suramadu. The tourists can visit this island through this bridge, by water or by air. If you want to go there by sea, the tourist can through Tanjung Perak harbour at Surabaya to Kamal Harbour at Bangkalan or from Jangkar harbour Situbondo to Kalianget harbour at Sumenep at the east end of Madura.

The shape of Madura Island is like the body of cow. Madura consists of four regencies. There are Bangkalan, Sampang, Pamekasan and Sumenep. Madura has long history. It can be seen from the culture and the art there that strong influenced by Islam.

Madura Island is inhabited by tribes Madura that be one of the big populations ethnic in Indonesia. There are almost 20 million people. They come from Madura and other islands around Madura like Gili Raja, Sapudi, Raas and Kangean. Beside this, some of the Madura  live on the east of East Java that usually called Tapal Kuda region. Some of them also live  from Pasuruan until north of Banyuwangi. The Madura who live at Situbondo, Bondowoso, and east of Probolinggo, Jember and they also rarely communicate using Javanese. It is include north Surabaya and some on Malang.

The Madura tribe are known with their diction. They have free-spoken style or bluntly. The Madura also known as with their attitude such as economical, discipline and hard worker (abhantal omba’ asapo angen). They also care with their pride. Their pride is important for them in society. They have philosophy : katembheng pote mata, angok pote tolang. This character that make the carok tradition appears.

Madura has some interesting tourist attractions. One of them is Karapan Sapi. The foreign tourists called it with Madura Traditional Bull Racing Festival. Every years traditional bull racing festival are held from the sub district level until karesidenan. Beside Karapan Sapi there is alsi has Sapi Sono’ contest that perform by the cows. At Sumenep, there is also a festival like karapan sapi. It is traditional buffalo festival.


Karapan Sapi at Glance

Kerapan sapi or Karapan Sapi is a term to called the cows race that comes from Madura, East Java. At this race, a couple of cows pulls something like cart that made from wood and it is used for the man as jockey. The jockey stands and controlsthe couple of cows to be driven at a speed race competition againts the others cows couple.

The lenght of the track race is 100 meters. This race usually needs ten seconds until one minute. Some towns at Madura held Karapan Sapi at August and September every year. The final competition helds on the last of September or October at Pamekasan as the district to get the President throphy.

Prestige Collided 

The owner of karapan will get the high prestige when he can be a winner at this traditional race. Beside this, the price of the winner of cows couple will increase. For example, the cow price that be a winner at 2003 the pric will increase amazingly to be 200 million rupiahs from two years before that only 40 millions rupiahs.

To shape the body of the health cows, it needs until 4 millions rupiahs each cows. It is for food and other preservations. Why can it happen? The cows that used for the race will be given many kinds of Jamu tens eggs each days especially if the cows will face the race. Based on the tradition for the peope who belong the cows for race, the cows must be injured some minutes before race on its butt. The cows will be shredded using nail until bleed. It will make the cows run fast. Some of them give the wound with condiment or balm on some place at the cows body like around their eyes.

One day before the race held, the couple of cows and the owner and some of their family stay at night on the tent on the yard. They will get entertainment by traditional music group Sronen that is paraded couple of cows before the race. Moreover, some owners also use the shaman’s service to help them on the race. They do it is for prestige.


The History of Kerapan Sapi at Madura

Madura Kerapan Sapi has been the culture of Madura since for a long time ago.The habit spurs the cows has been the favorite activity for the Madura. At Madura, there are not only the cows that be an animal that used to race, but also the buffalo. It is happen at Kangean Island. The buffalo race there is called “mamajir” the cows or the buffaloes are rode by jockey called tongko. Tongko stands on “kaleles” that pulls by the cows or buffalo.

For the Madura, the meaning of kerapan is the race of bull using kaleles. Kerapan can be meant as a race of buffalo or cows. The other race with other animal like buffalo can not be called as kerapan but mamajir.

The word Kerapan comes the word Kerap or Kirap that means leave removable together. There was another assumption that stated that the word kerapan from arab “kirabah” that means friendship.

The born of kerapan sapi was parallel with the conditio of wide farmland at Madura. The farmland were cultivated by the animals like cows and buffalo. Because there were many people who had the cows or buffaloes, so step by step the performing of kerapan sapi appeared.

There was an allegation that kerapa sapi at Madura began on 14th century. It was stated that a kyais name Kyai Pratanu had utilized kerapan sapi as a means to explain about Islam. That was why the phylosophy teachings  connected with the right position of the cow (panglowar) and left cow position (pangdalem) that must walk in balance so the way of the cows would walk straight on path. The human also could walk straight on path too.

The other story, on 14th century at Sapudi ordered Panembahan Wlingi. He had some kindness taught how to raise cattle then continued by his son, Adi Poday. His son wandered at Madura and utilized his agriculture’s experience at Sapudi Island. It made the agriculture there onward.

Kinds of Karapan Sapi
  1. Kerrap Keni (small karapan) it is the sub district level of the race with 110 meters length. The winner can participate the higher level of karapan.  
  2. Kerrap Rajah (big karapan) this is regency level and the participants are the winner of Kerrap Keni and the distance is 120 meters. 
  3. Kerrap Karesidenan (Gubeng) , it is district level. And the participants are the winners from four regencies at Madura. The place is at Bakorwil Madura at Pamekasan regency and helds on Sunday. 
  4. Kerrap Onjangan, it is special Karapan sapi and the participants of the race come based on the invittaion. It can be hold to commemorate certain day. 
  5. Kerrap Jar-jaran, it is done only to practice the cows that will be used to race before join on the real race.

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