In Indonesia, literature is not only limited to novels, poetry, or short stories. There are also traditional literary forms that have been passed down from generation to generation, such as wayang (shadow puppetry), tembang (Javanese songs), and cerkak. Cerkak is a Javanese literary form that is still popular today, especially in the Central Java region. In this article, we will explore what cerkak is, its history, and its characteristics.
What is Cerkak?
Cerkak is a Javanese literary form that is written in prose. It is usually written in the form of a short story or a fable, and is often accompanied by illustrations. Cerkak is also known as “cerkak pendek” which means a short cerkak. The word “cerkak” itself is derived from the Javanese word “cerca” which means to tell a story.
History of Cerkak
Cerkak has a long history in Javanese literature. It is believed to have originated in the 14th century during the Majapahit Kingdom. At that time, cerkak was used as a means of entertainment for the royal family and the nobility. The stories were usually about the adventures of the king, his ministers, or legendary figures such as Raden Kamandaka and Raden Panji.
Characteristics of Cerkak
Cerkak has several characteristics that distinguish it from other literary forms. Firstly, cerkak is written in prose, not in verse. Secondly, it is usually a short story or a fable that contains a moral lesson. Thirdly, cerkak often features mythical or legendary figures, such as kings, princesses, and knights. Fourthly, cerkak is often accompanied by illustrations that depict the characters and the setting of the story.
Cerkak Yaiku is a collection of cerkak that was written by various authors in the early 20th century. The title “yaiku” means “that is” in Javanese, which implies that the stories in this collection reflect the way of life and the values of the Javanese people. Cerkak Yaiku consists of 50 stories that cover a wide range of topics, such as love, friendship, loyalty, and bravery.
Examples of Cerkak Yaiku
One of the most famous stories in Cerkak Yaiku is “Raden Kamandaka”. This story tells the tale of a brave knight who goes on a journey to rescue a princess who has been kidnapped by an evil giant. Along the way, Raden Kamandaka faces many obstacles and battles, but he never gives up and eventually saves the princess. Another popular story in Cerkak Yaiku is “Raden Panji”. This story is about a prince who falls in love with a princess from a neighboring kingdom. However, the princess’s father refuses to let them marry because he thinks that Raden Panji is not worthy of his daughter. Raden Panji then embarks on a journey to prove his worthiness and eventually wins the heart of the princess’s father.
Cerkak Yaiku is a colorful form of Javanese literature that reflects the values and way of life of the Javanese people. It is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia and is still enjoyed by many people today. Through cerkak, we can learn about the history, traditions, and beliefs of the Javanese people and appreciate the beauty of their language and culture.