Singkawang: WOW!
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 1491 Date : Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 14:19:21

    Have you ever seen the Cap Go Meh Festival in Singkawang, West Kalimantan? If you have not, I would highly recommend it. For Singkawang has a unique celebration, held on the 15th day after the Chinese New Year. Recently, 15 ambassadors, along with Hubert Gijzen, the director
    of UNESCO for Indonesia, attended this event. I was there too along with the vice minister for tourism and creative economy, Sapta Nirwandar, and prominent lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis by the invitation of West Kalimantan Vice Governor Christiandy Sanjaya.

    As the chairman of the Wonder of the World (WOW) Foundation, I wanted to see for myself the wonder of Singkawang. In the past couple of years, the Foundation has issued WOW certificates at the Marketeers Real WOW Night in December to a number of unique tourist destinations in Indonesia. Singkawang is one strong candidate to get the certificate this year, as the city had indeed put an impressive event.

    This year's Cap Go Meh Festival was marked by the participation of 751 Tatungs, who would sit on chairs made of blades and perform stunts with sharp objects. A Tatung is a person who fasts for three days and gets possessed by a good spirit. This allows him or her to be pierced with sharp wires without getting wounded.

    One day prior to the event, they had received a blessing at the Tri Dharma Bumi Raya temple. The Tatungs would then pray and become unconscious. Some shocking events would then occur. For example, the rain would suddenly fall for a brief moment after which the Tatungs would then wake up.

    Although it is originated from China, the Tatung festival is said to no longer exist there. But in Singkawang, it is a well-kept tradition that keeps getting bigger each year. The Tatungs are not only ethnic Chinese but are also made up of the Dayak and Malay population in Singkawang. Tourists come from all over Indonesia and overseas a few days before Cap Go Meh just to see the event. The number of visitors gets bigger each year as well.