That day when I was sold

Do you have a tradition within your culture/nuclear culture that’s interesting/unusual (“unusual” is a strong word. Maybe something that’s not widely known) for others?

I came from a Javanese family. We don’t really hold tight into the culture itself, but there are some aspects that my parents did — and I realized it was not super common even among Javanese folks in Indonesia (the older generations might familiar with it, but not so with the younger ones.)

In Javanese culture, we have our own system of horoscopes called “weton” (weh-ton). The concept itself coming from the combination of regular Gregorian days (Monday to Sunday) and Javanese term: pasaran — with “pasar” means market.

In the old days (and perhaps some still practice it now,) market merchants usually rotate their visits to the marketplaces in the area, and some marketplaces only open on specific days. When you visited towns in Java, especially in the Central Java, you might see traditional marketplace with names such as Pasar Legi or Pasar Pon. It signifies the markets used to open on the days of Legi and Pon (these markets now open on daily basis.)

Similar with how many cultures view astrology and horoscopes, Javanese takes weton seriously.

In my case, it was between me and my mom.

We share the same weton; and in Javanese culture, having the same weton between a mother and her child is seen as dangerous.

Not unlucky, but dangerous.

A parent and a child with a same weton are bound to clash and conflict. Instead of, “oh, you are a Gemini? Me too! Twinsiiieeessss!” Javanese weton sees it as, “we have two people with similar personalities, similar life path, and similar bad temper. It’s like putting two beasts in one cage.”

(If you are considering something who tend to take awfully long time playing Animal Crossing, being goddamn indecisive, eat and sleep a lot, and share 90% behavior similar as a potato as a beast, then yeh, I’m a beast.)

Just like many other cultures and traditions, there is always a workaround. A loophole, if you will.

In Javanese, when a parent shares the same weton with the child, they can “sell” the child to another family (yes. You read it right.)

“I have this kid, and we share the same weton — and I reaaaaaally don’t want to destroy my family. Can you take this kid?”

And that’s what happened to me.

My parents “sold” me to family’s friend — a family too — there was a picture, and I was valued 100 IDR. … … … uh, in USD, it’s 70 cents.

The practice, however, varies. Some folks do it seriously, as in, literally sending the child off to another family and the child never knew their real parents (and maybe they get informed later when they come to adulthood.)

Some, and this including my parents, do it just for cultural and tolak bala (avoiding the misfortunes) purpose. I still stayed with my parents.

So here you go. I once “sold” by my family (I even grinned in the picture while my dad and his friend shook their hand on top of my head) because I share the same horoscope with my mom.

We visited my “family” when we delivered my wedding invitation, back in 2011.

Update: Found the pic.

The person with the grey shirt is my dad, my mom wore the striped green shirt, and the person with the batik shirt is my “other dad” and his family.

My late grandparents were there too. My late grandma (I miss her) is on the second picture, holding my younger sister (still a baby.) Next to her, another gentleman with a batik shirt on the right side, is my late grandpa (miss him too. I wish I could hear him telling his wartime stories (he was in the Navy in Indonesian military forces during the war)).

The little girl with the teal pants is me.

How about you? Do you have some stories about your culture that you feel really cool and you want to share?

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6 responses to “That day when I was sold”

  1. asudomo Avatar

    Ah aku lupa weton ku apa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nindya Avatar

      Kapan gitu pernah liat weton generator (eh kok weton generator sih akakakakak) di manaaa gitu. Situs kalo ga salah


      1. asudomo Avatar

        Wuih, langsung ke TKP Mbak, Senin pahing ternyata wetonku haha, makasih infonya

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nindya Avatar

        Sama-sama 😄


  2. Robert Felty Avatar

    Did this freak you out at the time? I can imagine it being quite confusing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nindya Avatar

      When I got “sold”, I didn’t understand anything at all. I remember I thought, “oh yay, I can sit together with the adults and nobody scolding me!” (in Indonesia, it’s pretty normal to have guest-receiving area (sofa and coffee table) — and whenever my parents had guests, they always tell the kids to stay away from the vicinity 😆)

      I think it was when I’m on my latter year in primary school/elementary grade, when I saw the pictures and a 100 IDR coin — along with a note, “Nindya got sold”. I asked my mom (panicked, of course,) what does it mean with being sold. My mom explained the whole thing, and I still find it really fascinating even up to now 😄

      Liked by 2 people

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