Perang Obor in Jepara Regency, Central Java Province


In Jepara Regency, a unique festival like Perang Obor never fails to amuse both villagers and outsiders. Another name is Obor-Oboran and it originates from Tegalsambi Village at Tahunan Sub-District. During the procession, the locals gather in a specific location and lit up torches at night and attack other participants with it! The purpose is to appreciate the local legend related to the fight between Kiai Babadan and Mbah Gembong. In terms of name, actually, “Perang” means war while “Obor” means torches. For tourists, this event looks both unique and thrilling indeed. Thus, no one should miss it when visiting Jepara later.

The Nuance
Perang Obor is done at night and tons of people may participate in it, especially those who live in Tegalsambi Village. The torches are made mainly from banana and coconut leaves. Both the fire and war are real! No wonder, getting burns are quite common. Have no worries. These people would get a special treatment at the end of the event using a traditional ointment. Here is the thing. Even though the participants may hurt each other, they don’t have a bad feeling at all. Instead, they are excited about joining the fight.

Exploring Perang Obor
The merry and intense nuance makes Perang Obor popular among both locals and tourists. It even involves several processions and rituals. In the beginning, there is “Pelepasan” or discharge ritual. It takes place in the home of the village leader. Then, the army and the audience walk to the village crossroad in order to pray together. Once the first torch is lit, the nuance becomes merry. Two groups of men start to attack each other.

Even though the war looks fierce, the participants look happy and are able to enjoy it thoroughly. They don’t even hate each other after the war ends. For the information, the war lasts once the torches go out. What about the wounds? These people have a special ointment, which is able to treat burns perfectly. As for tourists, they can either simply watch the war or take photos of it. Perhaps they don’t want to join the war due to the risk of getting burnt, no?

Aside from watching Perang Obor, tourists should take the opportunity to learn the history about it too, though. It is said an old man called Mbah Gemblong worked for Kiai Babadan. His job was to take care of his master’s cattle. Due to the poor management, the animals got skinny though. Thus, the master hit him with a torch. Defending himself, Gemblong snatched the torch and perform a counterattack. This fight caused a fire to the cattle pen and the animals ran out. After the incident, though, the animals became fatter and healthier! Well, tourists can talk to the locals for further information later.

Nearby Attractions

  • Senden Waterfall
  • VOC Fort
  • RA Kartini Museum
  • Pelayaran Beach
  • Kura-Kura Ocean Park

How to Get There
The best place to watch Perang Obor is definitely in Tegalsambi Village at Tahunan Sub-District. It is the origin of the event, after all. However, tourists should get to Jepara Regency first. The trip may take around 2 hours and 6 minutes if they come from Semarang City. Once arriving at Jepara, their next destination is Tegalsambi. The only consideration is the time, as the event doesn’t happen every day.

Where to Stay

  • Seaside Villa
  • Puri Saripan
  • Nusantara Hotel
  • Kencana Hotel


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