Home > Blog > Explore Jogja > The Dreadlock kids of Dieng and their Shaving Rites

The Dreadlock kids of Dieng and their Shaving Rites

Dieng dreadlocks
Dieng dreadlocks

The Dieng Plateau in Central Java Located about 2,000 meters (6,500 ft) above sea level, the Dieng Plateau in Central Java is not only blessed with breathtaking natural scenery and fascinating historical remains but it is also a land shrouded by myths and age old unique cultural traditions. While the enchanting temple complex is already an amazing legacy of the golden past, one of Dieng’s most exceptional cultural features can still be seen today in the outstanding phenomenon of the Dreadlock Kids.

For many, dreadlocks – or any other hair appearance or style – may just be a reflection of preference or lifestyle, but for some of the children on the Dieng Plateau this may not be simply the case. These children (of around 1 to 7 year) are born normal, however at one point; their hair strangely turns dreadlock by itself. Various studies to scientifically investigate the cause have not found any logical explanations for the growth of the dreadlocks. The locals, however, believe that these kids are somehow chosen by their ancestors to receive and keep these gifts, and that the dreadlocks must not be trimmed until the children ask for it, or the hair will continue to grow back.

The phenomenon of the Dreadlock Kids of Dieng

Dieng Cultural Festival
Dieng Cultural Festival

The phenomenon of the Dreadlock Kids of Dieng is believed to have its origin in the legend of Kolodete. Kyai Kolodete is said to be a charismatic wanderer who along with his two companions, Kyai Karim and Kyai Walik, were the pioneers who established the settlements around the Dieng Mountains. Kyai Kolodete is believed to have established the settlement on the Dieng Plateau, Kyai Karim established the town of Kalibeber, and Kyai Walik founded the town of Wonosobo. The legend said that while Kolodete regined over the Dieng Plateau, he had dreadlock hair and vowed that he would never cut his hair until the Dieng Plateau area would prosper. If his wishes were not fulfilled, the legend said , then he would reincarnate into a newly born baby or one that is starting to walk.

The Dieng Cultural Festival

At the long-awaited moment when the dreadlock kids agree to have their hair shaven, it is celebrated in a series of ceremonies known as the Ruwatan Anak Gimbal – or the shaving of the dreadlocks. Nowadays, these rituals are elaborated into a grand cultural fiesta celebrated annually as the Dieng Cultural Festival.
Aside from the dreadlock shaving rites, the Dieng cultural Festival also features Dieng’s own traditional performances such as the Rodad Dance, Lengger Dance, Rampak Yakso, Warokan, Barongsai, Cakil Dance, and Wayang Kulit or the Javanese leather puppets show. Among the most interesting produce that will be presented in an exhibition are Dieng’s unique Mountain Papaya or Carica, and the highly nutritious herbal Purwaceng.

Dieng Culture Festival 2015
Dieng Culture Festival 2015

The ceremony commences with a procession of the dreadlock kids around the village. The kids will be paraded on a Javanese traditional horse drawn carriage or Dokar guarded by Manggala Yudha or royal troops and followed by various traditional art processions. The special kids will then be taken to the Arjuna Temple in the Dieng Temple complex where the ritual of the dreadlock hair cutting will take place. Subsequently, the hair will be taken to the lake and submerged symbolizing the return of the hair to the ancestors.

Located about three hours’ drive away from Yogyakarta or two hours from Semarang, the Dieng highlands are truly a marvel of their own. Literally translated as ‘abode of the Gods’, the plateau does not only contain a remarkable collection of ancient temples set amongst a fascinating mountain background, but it also possesses a mystical culture of its own communities.

  •   Bersama Pak Tugi!! Best boleh berkomunikasi dengan baik. Sedia melayani kehendak perut kami. Menepati masa dan banyak memberi pesanan2 khas..sangat baik dan peramah.

    thumb Meander815943
    9/17/2018

      Terima kasih banyak2 Pak Tugi bawa kami jalan-jalan pusing Yogjakarta. Servis terbaik termasuklah bawa ke tempat makan yang sedap2, peramah, menepati masa, dan bawa ke tempat2 menarik yg tiada dalam itenari kami. #paktugiterbaik

    thumb Navigator816060
    9/17/2018

      It was easy to get hold of Agus, the owner and tour operator, he was recommended to us by a friend of ours, this is our second trip with his tour guides. Giarto, our tour guide arrived on time on all three days. He went...More

    thumb RuchiraB7
    12/12/2018

      Our supir Mas Adi from Pak Agus team was superb! He is friendly,and gives us ample time because we bring small children. He also took picture for us and bring us to delicous local food restaurant. Overall the tour is excellent!

    thumb atiqaharshad89
    1/31/2019
  •   Bersama driver Mas Budi. Senang untuk berurusan tanpa sebarang masalah. Tepat waktu dan mudah untuk bekerjasama. Percutian paling best untuk tahun 2018 , inshaAllah kembali lagi di lain tahun. Dari Kelantan, Malaysia. #sepkitojangepecoh #bythelovechapters #anaisphotog

    thumb CivilQ2
    1/01/1970

      I got Pak Agus' number after reading his team's good review online. We were a party of 6; 5 adults and my 5-year old son travelling to Jogja for 6 days & 5 nights leisure trip. We were greeted by Mas Adi; albeit slighy misscomm...More

    thumb Nor Iliani N
    12/20/2018

      Okay, where do I begin? On a recent trip to Jogja with friends who were visiting from Japan, we were met at the airport by our driver, Supri. Supri was with us for the next four days, and we could not have survived, let alone...More

    thumb Ross L
    1/07/2019

      For four days, I traveled around with Mas Agus from Java Heritage Tours. He took me to see the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, explore vulcanic craters, see the Dieng plateau, and visit various sights in the city of Yogyakarta. I even got a cooking class at his place (which was delicious).

    I was traveling through Indonesia by myself, but Agus made me feel very safe and took great care of me. He was super friendly and very knowledgeable. I had an absolutely fantastic time, and I can recommend Java Heritage Tours to anyone! More

    thumb Diede M
    12/01/2015
  •   kunjungan saya ke yogjakarta bersama driver mas budi adalah yang terbaik dan best sekali.. maybe next time boleh berkunjung lg bersama dgn java heritage tour..

    thumb AdamZ1688
    1/01/1970

      Best driver to take you around for your sightseeing in Jogja!Also gives the best advice if you’re unsure of what to do first.Thank you for accompanying me on my adventure!

    thumb Minswan
    2/03/2019

      - one word to describe our whole jogja trip is "SUPERB" - excellent service by Pak Agus and our driver@tourist guide, adi saputra - comfortable homestay - a great package with affordable price - prayer time given (good for muslim traveller, the mosque/musolla is everywhere)...More

    thumb nadnusisters
    11/30/2018

      We are a family with young children (toddler) from Malaysia. we have been in Jogja for 2 nights and our driver / guide / friend / photographer from this company was mas Adi. we are very happy and satisfied with his service. he was very...More

    thumb hazeemharis
    2/08/2019
  •   Nama driver: Pak Tugi Kami di Jogja selama 4 hari dan Pak Tugi layan kami dengan sungguh baik! Kemana-mana kami hendak pergi, walaupun jauh, dia hantar kami dgn senyuman. Dia membawa kami ke warung makan local yg sedap dan tidak ada ramai tourist. Layanan Pak...Selengkapnya

    thumb lilliesanddaisies
    7/28/2018

      Percutian yg menyeronokkan. Tempat² yang menarik. Pemandu yg baik, peramah, penyabar. Tq mas Adi dan pak Agus. Semoga ketemu lg di lain waktu.

    thumb n0rhaslindaj
    11/09/2018

      Overall im very satisfied with java heritage tour service for a memorable tour experience at jogja. Special thanks to our tour guide Pak Budi and also to pak agus for a prompt response when needed. Keep up the good work and ill definately recommend this...More

    thumb nazrikom
    12/05/2018

      Percutian selama 4 hari di Jogja sangat bermakna untuk kami. Dengan bantuan tourguide, Supri dari Java Heritage kami dibawa ke lokasi2 yang menarik serta rumah-rumah makan yang enak-enak. Dengan harga perkhidmatan yang berpatutan yang ditawarkan oleh Java Heritage, kami berjaya menamatkan misi percutian kami. Sepanjang...Selengkapnya

    thumb Camper671727
    11/27/2018

You may also like...