The Philosophy of Tumpeng

Tumpeng is very much connected with life of most Indonesian people. Tumpeng almost presents in every kind of ceremony, happy or sad ceremony. The presence of rice formed in the shape of cone is generally served along with some particular kinds of food, which have symbols, meanings and hopes.

Tumpeng is a stack of rice formed in the shape of cone, like a mountain. The shape represents a hope of increasing life toward a higher level of human needs and life-goals. Despite there are some other beautiful shapes, this cone shape is important and must be applied.
In early days, tumpeng was presented with white rice. However, it has nowadays been served with yellow rice for the reason of attractiveness.
This cone-shape yellow rice is then put on a container covered with green leaves, which are arranged beautifully. The rice is surrounded by some particular kinds of food. Every kind of food has its own symbol, meaning and hope.

1. Chicken
Chicken can be served as roasted chicken, fried chicken or curry chicken. In Indonesian culture, chicken is a common sacrificial animal therefore it represents an offering to God in terms of land animal.

2. Fish
There are two choices of fish normally served with tumpeng: catfish or milkfish. Both represent an offering to God in terms of water animal. In particular, catfish symbolises humility as it always swims in the bottom of river. It also represents career path so that people should not mind to start career from a lower level. Catfish sometimes can be replaced with milkfish. Milkfish gives hope for people to get more and more luck and fortune as it is much bonier compared to other fish.

3. Tiny Fish Anchovy
Animal water can be also represented by tiny fish anchovies, which are fried and wrapped with flour. The wrapping of tiny fish anchovies simbolises peace and harmony as fish anchovies often group together around food sources.

4. Egg
Eggs are normally served in omelette. However in a genuine tradition, they should be served as a whole in which the shell, white and yolk simbolise that human act in life is supposed to be done by planning, implementing according to the plan, and evaluating for better result.

5. Salad of Mixed Vegetables
Salad is normally served with coconut. This represents land plant where the types of vegetable are specifically chosen with meanings.
Leafy Vegetable: can live in the land and water so that human should manage to live in any matters of life.
Spinach: simbolises a secure and peaceful life.
Bean sprouts: small vegetable contains big creativity for success in life.
Long beans: always in a long shape with no cuts meaning human should think forward before action for longer living.
Breadfruit: hopes for more and more luck and fortune, intellectual, better behaviour and manner.

Translated from the source
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