“Get Sick in The Morning, and Die in The Evening”: The History Of Epidemic and Its Prevention in Java in The Beginning Of 20th Century


More than decades before Covid-19 destroyeds all aspects of human life, Yogyakarta and Surakarta as the city of the palace experienced a pancemic case that caused deaths. The aim of this article is to analyze the pandemic phenomenon in the cities of Java during the colonial period using the perspective of local history. Data are in the form manuscript, archive, and mass media were collected from library. From the historical method, people will know that the spreading of influenza and bubonic caused the panic of colonial government and government officials. Cultural events such as Garebeg Sekaten were also eliminated due to the infection of the disease. The widespread pandemic was solved by the role of the doctor, vaccination, and providing the quarantine place for the infected people. The other interesting invention was that Javanese people had an alternative way to prevent the infection of the disease. They made use of heritage knowledge, such as herbs or traditional treatment. As the example, the system of Javanese traditional treatment was written in Serat Primbon Reracikan Jampi Jawi 1-3, a collection of Sasana Pustaka Library, Kasunanan Surakarta. It showed how high people awareness regarding the health. This fact was supported by the awareness of clean-living habits. The matter of health was not just about herbs and traditional treatment, but also clean-living habits. It becomes the key to stay healthy. This local knowledge is priceless. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of herbs and clean-living habits are intensified. This reality proves that the experience of our ancestors is still relevant to contemporary life. Therefore, modern people need to take a look, learn, and empower the heritage of our ancestors. The herbs need scientification, education, and cultivation.
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