The Mysterious History of Mrapen ‘Eternal Flame’ Used in Asian Games 2018
The Asian Games flame, brought from India, and the eternal flame from Mrapen, Central Java, were united at Brahma field at the Prambanan Temple complex in Yogyakarta on Wednesday (18/7) evening.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono and Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi attended the 2018 Asian Games torch relay concert at Prambanan.
Mrapen eternal flame is located in Manggarmas village, Godong, Grobogan, Grobogan regency. This eternal flame was created through natural geological phenomena; the leaking of natural gas from the ground.
According to Tempo, it was unknown when the gas leakage was ignited, but the Mrapen flame was already known in the 15th century Demak Sultanate era.
It was mentioned that the sacred kris heirloom dagger of Demak Sultanate was forged in the Mrapen flame. The flame never extinguishes, not even in the middle of rain or winds.
It is used for several torch relay for multisport events held in Indonesia. The first time it was used in GANEFO (Games of the New Emerging Forces) sport event held on 1 November 1963, with 2,700 athletes from 51 Asian, African, Europan, and Latin American countries.
Later every Pekan Olahraga Nasional (Indonesian National Sport Week) always used Mrapen flame, followed by 1997 Southeast Asian Games, 2008 Asian Beach Games, 2011 Southeast Asian Games, and 2011 ASEAN ParaGames.
Indonesia.Travel reports that the Mrapen eternal flame is considered sacred in Javanese culture, and it is used in annual Waisak Buddhist ceremony to be brought to Mendut and Borobudur temple together with sacred water from Umbul Jumprit spring.
As reported in Kompas.com, according to legend, the flame appeared after Sunan Kalijaga, one of the ‘nine saints’ of Javanese Islam in 15th century, stick his cane. Sunan Kalijaga and his followers were on a very long journey, and stayed overnight at Mrapen village.
His followers were feeling cold, so he stuck his cane into the ground and then lifted again, and there the flame appeared miraculously and warmed them.
Mrapen derived from prapen or fireplace, so the flame was called as Merapen.
After a ceremony to merge the flames from India and Indonesia in the compound of the ancient Prambanan temple near Yogyakarta, the Asian Games torch is set to begin its nationwide relay on Thursday.
Beginning in Yogyakarta, the torch will pass through the Indonesian provinces of Java, Bali, Papua, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and Sumatra covering a total distance of over 18 thousand kilometers.
The cities scheduled to host the torch relay are Surakarta, Malang, Denpasar, Lombok, Sorong, Makassar, Banjarmasin, Banda Aceh, Medan, Pekanbaru, Padang and Jambi.