An old man blows fire into a traditional stove during the mongen ritual in a pawon at Dieng Plateau area, Banjarnegara, on Nov. 15, 2020. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Tourism Helps Keep Dieng's Pawon and Mongen Tradition Alive
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
NOVEMBER 21, 2020
Dieng. The Dieng people of Central Java has a picturesque culture as it adapts to their natural environment.
During the day, the temperature is mostly at 12 to 20 degrees Celcius. At night, it drops to 6 to 10 degrees Celcius.
The cold air makes Dieng people accustomed to wearing warm clothes all day long.
The Dieng people are also inseparable from the so-called mongen tradition.
This is where they would gather in pawon or the Javanese traditional kitchen to warm themselves in front of the stove or mongen. As an effect sitting too often by the fire, blackish marks dubbed as mongen appear on their forelegs' skin. The tradition of gathering and socializing in the pawon is also called mongen.
The tradition intersects with the architecture of Dieng people's traditional house, where they would build the pawon and even put a jug at the front. This is to welcome families or guests who are tired from work or traveling.
The philosophy behind this setting is everyone have to freshen up themselves before stepping into the family room. Once they enter, they are already clean with their thirst quenched and stomach full.
This hereditary tradition, however, is almost extinct. Many houses in Dieng have adapted to the modern architecture which is far more simple, minimalist and with the kitchen built at the back.
Even so, there are some houses that still maintain this traditional architectural layout to conserve this tradition.
Today, some of the pawon are used to hold traditional events or welcome tourists. In the pawon, tourists can enjoy traditional cuisines such as tempe kemul or a snack made of fermented soybeans, Dieng potato chips, ice carica, and a cup of hot tea.
Locals will also tell the tourists brief histories and legends of the tallest region in Java while keeping their cultural traditions alive.