JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Many activities, comprising traditional Chinese cultural performances, are held Sunday, Feb. 5, in various cities of Indonesia to mark the last day of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration: Cap Go Meh.
Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Previously, the government declared Monday, Jan. 23 as a collective leave day in addition to the Chinese New Year festival on Sunday, Jan. 22.
Chief of Presidential Staff Office Moeldoko said during the Cap Go Meh Festival in Singkawang, West Kalimantan that the festival is considered one of the intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
"I am very intrigued by the symbols etched in Singkawang City," he said in his speech.
Also present during the event was State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir.
"State-Owned Enterprises Minister has a busy schedule. But because of his love for Singkawang, he [makes time to] attend this," Moeldoko told the people.
Moeldoko said that the status of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage also serves as a commendation from the global community to Indonesia.
He recalled his time back when he was the military commander at Tanjungpura Regional Military Command in West Kalimantan, during which there was an argument revolving around a dragon statue in Singkawang.
At that time, he said that he would be the first one to protect the statue if anything bad happen to it.
He called on the public to collaborate to develop Singkawang city for the better in the future, including in the tourism sector.
Thousands of people – including residents and guests – would witness the festival proceedings, which showcased nine dragons attraction performed by Saint Yosef Singkawang City group and hundreds of tatung or shamans possessed by ancestral spirits, among others.
Meanwhile, residents in greater Jakarta also turned up where the Cap Go Meh festivals took place on Sunday.
In Bekasi city on the outskirts of Jakarta, thousands of people filled the streets along Hok Lay Kiong temple in Margahayu. The heat did not deter the spectators to watch a cultural parade featuring lion dance performances and giant Betawi effigies, locally known as ondel-ondel.
In Bogor city, about 40 kilometers south of Jakarta, the residents, including house mothers and children, flocked to Suryakencana street and Siliwangi street to see the Bogor Street Festival on the occasion of Cap Go Meh festivities.
(Writers: Afdhalul Ikhsan, Joy Andre | Editors: Anggara Wikan Prasetya, Ihsanuddin)
State News AntaraDapatkan update berita pilihan dan breaking news setiap hari dari Kompas.com. Mari bergabung di Grup Telegram "Kompas.com News Update", caranya klik link https://t.me/kompascomupdate, kemudian join. Anda harus install aplikasi Telegram terlebih dulu di ponsel.