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Meet The Mystical Art of Weather: Indonesia's Rain Shamans
FUN FACTS Indonesia

Meet The Mystical Art of Weather: Indonesia's Rain Shamans

Do you remember the interesting moments when MotoGP was held in Mandalika, Indonesia?

There was an interesting moment that stood out when MotoGP was held in Indonesia last year. The Motogp committee in Indonesia decided at that time to use a rain shamans as a rain stopper. In fact, when the ASEAN Summit was held a few days ago in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, the presence of this rain shamans was also seen at the event. Regardless of how it works and its success, this could be a way for Indonesia to showcase its cultural diversity. Moreover, the rain charmer itself is a culture that is quite popular and close to the Indonesian people themselves.

Historically, the author did not find any written documents that could provide definitive clues as to the origins of the practice. However, there is one piece of historical evidence from Sunda, namely the kingdom of Pajajaran, which states that there have been spells for rain since the fourteenth century. This is embedded in Jean Gelman Taylor's book published in 2003 under the title "Indonesia: Peoples and Histories". In addition, there is also the folklore of the Betawi people who say that rain charmers have appeared in Indonesia since the Hindu-Buddhist era.

In different parts of Indonesia, rain shamans are known by different names, for example, in Java they are known as "tukang siwer" or "punduh", while in Bali they are known as "balian" or "nerang hujan/tukang terang". The practice of rain shamans also varies according to the culture and traditions of the region in which they live.

Rain shamans are usually regarded as individuals who have a special ability to communicate with a certain entity responsible for the weather and nature. They also have extensive knowledge of the environment and weather patterns that can help them predict and control the weather. However, these rain charmers do not only deny or stop rain, but also move clouds from one place to another or vice versa.

Although many Indonesians are now technologically literate and religiously inclined, this local wisdom is still widespread. This community belief is still sustainable because it is based on the way of thinking of their ancestral cultural heritage, such as animism, dynamism, and totemism. The culture, which is inherent and passed down from generation to generation, then becomes a guide to life for the people who believe in it.

In the beginning, the practice of rain shamans was associated with religious and traditional ceremonies related to the weather, such as ceremonies to invoke rain and cleanse areas. However, as the practice evolved, it was also used for non-religious protection, such as sports events, cultural performances, and building dedications.

In practice, rain shamans usually use special techniques such as prayers, mantras, meditation, and special attributes. In Indonesia itself, the way rain shamans rituals work to move the rain according to traditional beliefs varies depending on the traditions of each region. In Javanese society, in the Kejawen tradition, the tradition of rejecting rain is performed by setting up a broomstick with chili peppers and shallots, then accompanied by certain prayers. In another area, namely in Kuningan, West Java, this ritual uses a doll called Cingcowong. Then, in Bali, the practice of rain shamans is often called "nerang" and is carried out using offerings, rerajahan, and language. Another ritual, and one of the most commonly practiced rituals of rain shamans, is the mutih fasting retreat, where rain shamans are only allowed to consume rice and water for three days.

Although the practice of rain shamans has long been a part of Indonesian culture, it has declined in popularity in recent decades as more and more people see it as an irrational belief that goes against modern science. However, there are still many people in Indonesia who believe in the rain shamans' ability to control the weather and still seek their help in dealing with extreme weather problems. Not only ordinary people, but also corporations and government agencies use the services of these rain handlers in their activities. Regardless of the beliefs, rain handlers are a culture of Indonesian society that has been passed down for a long time and has contributed to the diversity of society.


Kusumaningtyas, Wulan. (2023). Handling the Rain Handler: Cultural and Religious Perspectives on the Indonesia’s Pawang Hujan. Al-Adabiya: Jurnal Kebudayaan dan Keagamaan, 18(1)

Christy, Imaniar. (2017). Objek-Objek Dalam Ritual Penangkal Hujan. Sabda, 12(1).

Anggraini, Putu Maria. (2023). Aspek Teologi Hindu dalam Tradisi di Bali. Jñānasiddhânta: Jurnal Pordi Teologi Hindu STAHN Mpu Kuturan Singaraja

Hidayat, Lina Marliana. (2015). Cingcowong: Upacara Ritual Meminta Hujan di Desa Luragung Landeuh Kecamatan Luragung Kabupaten Kuningan. Ekspresi Seni: Jurnal Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Karya Seni, 17(2) 

Rizky, Clarissa, M. Nazaruddin. (2021). Persepsi Masyarakat tentang Tolak Hujan Pada Acara Pernikahan di Binjai. Jurnal Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Malikussaleh (JSPM), 3(1)


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