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Asal Mula Nasi Tumpeng

Bentuknya kerucut, dibuat dari nasi kuning atau nasi uduk. Nasi tumpeng atau tumpengan biasanya dihiasi dengan beraneka bahan makanan atau sayuran seperti cabe, wortel, tomat, telur dll . Kalo anda perhatikan bentuk kerucut tumpeng mengingatkan kita pada bentuk gunung. Seperti kita ketahui, Indonesia merupakan negeri kepulauan yang memiliki banyak gunung berapi. Nenek moyang kita memandang gunung dengan pandangan hormat. Dan nasi tumpeng atau Tumpengan dimaknai orang sebagai simbol gunung Mahameru.

Begini, gunung Mahameru adalah sebuah konsep alam semesta yang berasal dari agama Hindu dan Buddha. Konon alam semesta berbentuk pipih melingkar seperti cakram, dan lingkaran itu berpusatkan Gunung Mahameru yang tingginya katanya sekitar 1.344.000 kilometer. Puncak gunung ini dikelilingi matahari, bulan dan bintang-bintang. Konon katanya gunung ini berdiri di tengah benua yang bernama Jambhudwipa yang ditinggali manusia dan makhluk-makhluk lainnya.

Benua Jambhudwipa dikelilingi tujuh rangkaian lautan dan tujuh rangkaian pegunungan. Di bagian tepi alam semesta terdapat rangkaian pegunungan yang sangat tinggi sehingga sukar didaki, yaitu Chakrawan dan Chakrawala. Di puncak Gunung Mahameru terletak kota tempat tinggal dewa-dewa. Adapun delapan arah dari Gunung Meru dijaga oleh dewa-dewa Asta-Dikpalaka sebagai pelindung alam semesta dari serangan makhluk-makhluk jahat.(Stutley 1977:190-191; Heine-Geldern 1982:4-5; Dumarcay 1986:89-91 dalam Munandar).

Orang-orang Jawa Kuno penganut Hindu-Buddha yang memang gemar belajar dan membaca memperhatikan betul soal ini. Dari dulu sampai sekarang orang kita memang tergolong suka beradaptasi dengan budaya dari luar. Setelah masuk ke budaya kita, budaya luar pastinya mengalami lokalisasi (istilah ini kedengarannya gimana gitu) atau istilah yang lebih tepat untuk zaman sekarang dan pastinya tidak mengandung konotasi bagi pikiran anda yang kotor, yaitu Jawanisasi atau Indonesianisasi.

Orang Jawa Kuno percaya kalo Gunung Mahameru telah mengalami mutasi atau dipindahkan oleh para dewa dari Jambhudwipa ke Jawadwipa. Entah karena alasan politis atau agama, pulau Jawa kemudian dinyatakan sebagai pusat dunia. Konon oleh Bhatara Guru (atau Shiwa) para dewa disuruh turun ke Jawa supaya mengajari para penduduk awal pulau Jawa berbagai pengetahuan dan keterampilan.

Oleh karena itu tidak mengherankan kalo gunung-gunung memiliki nilai mistis dan religius di mata masyarakat (terutama di Jawa). Sebenarnya gak cuma di Jawa, kita sering dengar juga perkataan yang berasal dari orang yang bukan bangsa kita soal orang bijak dari puncak gunung, atau istilah petapa turun gunung.

Di banyak kebudayaan gunung dianggap suci atau mistis. Orang Yunani menganggap gunung Olympus sebagai tempat bersemayamnya Zeus. Di Hawaii masyarakatnya percaya kalo gunung Mauna Kea adalah tempat tinggal Pele (bukan Pele sang legendaris sepak bola itu! Kalo dia sih tinggal di Brazil). Di pegunungan Himalaya banyak dibangun kuil-kuil. Kalo di Indonesia sendiri kita mengenal legenda nini Pelet dari puncak gunung Ciremai atau mak Lampir dari gunung Merapi (Ini sih sandiwara radio dan sinetron silat ).

Yang pasti bagi orang-orang zaman dahulu gunung adalah abstraksi dari sesuatu yang jauh lebih tinggi dan melampaui kekuasaan manusia, gunung juga dianggap lebih dekat dengan ‘langit’. Tak mengherankan kalo bentuk piramid, atau candi cenderung meniru bentuk gunung. Khusus untuk candi seperti Candi Borobudur, bentuknya memang berkaitan dengan konsep Mahameru.

Kembali ke masalah nasi tumpeng, dari bentuknya saja sudah tampak menyerupai gunung. Nasi tumpeng atau Tumpengan hanya ada dalam perayaan-perayaan tertentu (kecuali kalo anda iseng bikin tumpengan buat sarapan, bikin repot aja). Ini adalah warisan budaya nenek moyang. Suatu perayaan yang dianggap suci tentu memerlukan simbol-simbol suci yang dapat mewakili makna dari apa yang tengah dirayakan.

Manusia adalah homo symbolicum. Yang membedakan manusia dengan hewan adalah kemampuannya menciptakan simbol atau lambang. Misalnya bendera merah putih merupakan lambang keberanian dan kesucian. Atau yang lebih universal, setangkai mawar dianggap simbol pernyataan cinta. Gunung Mahameru yang dianggap pusat alam semesta oleh masyarakat Jawa Kuno kemudian disimbolkan dalam bentuk-bentuk yang man-made dari yang susah dibuat seperti Candi sampai yang made in dapur seperti nasi tumpeng.

Nah, sekarang anda baru tahu kan asal-usulnya kenapa tumpeng bentuknya kerucut? Kalo pun anda mau memaknainya secara berbeda itu sih sah-sah aja. Ini namanya proses semiosis. Kalo dulu mungkin nasi tumpeng bermakna filosofis sebagai gunung Mahameru, kini mungkin beda lagi. Mungkin bagi kamu tumpengan maknanya, makan enak.