Garut, a city located in West Java, has a unique breed of sheep called Domba Garut (domba means sheep). Famous for its long circular horn, this kind of sheep intuitively likes to bang their head against the wall, trees, or other sheep’s head.
This unique behavior inspired people in Garut to have sheep fighting as their tradition. Sheep fighting is normally accompanied by Sundanese gamelan performance and held with a strict rule of game. For each match, the maximum number of charges is 20 times and the referee has the right to stop the fight early if necessary. If there is no clear winner, a panel of judges will determine the outcome based on the courage and endurance of the contenders.
Competing sheep belong to padepokans (communities of sheep owners) all across Garut. In every match, every padepokan will bring supporters to cheer on their ram fighters.
Sheep fighting are held every weekend. However, the location changes from place to place, from one livestock market to another. Don’t miss it the next time you visit Garut.
Solo (formally known as Surakarta) is a city in Central Java which holds important role as one of the centers of Javanese culture. The city’s slogan “Solo, Spirit of Java” reflected on the architecture of the buildings, the citizens’ way of living and numbers of cultural events held throughout the year.
One event that must not be missed is Kirab Boyongan (literally can be translated as the Moving Parade). A lot of social groups were involved, including important government elements of said society. Most of them were walking during the parade, some rode horses and some were on horse carts. In these pictures, they were moving a traditional market called Pasar Windujenar. Lead by the Mayor, the parade departed from the old location of the market to the new one.
The parade was like one stop cultural show because people can see a lot of cultural elements in it. Starting from the wardrobe, almost all of them were wearing traditional clothes. Some of them even wear uniform of the kingdoms’ army, complete with swords and rifles. There were also several children who wear festive wardrobe made from traditional fabric, batik.
Other than the costumes, each social group who joined the parade also brought some attributes to show their identity. Some even performed attractions to entertain the public. People can see, not only various traditional wardrobes, but also various attractive performances – and all for free.
One important note: Kirab Boyongan is not a regular event. But don’t worry, Solo has a lot of other interesting Kirabs which are held regularly throughout the year. Come, and enjoy Solo, the spirit of Java.
Longser Sunda is a mix of Sundanese dance and play, unique to West Java area. The actors play a story of common Sundanese people. They put some current issues into the story, supplemented with comedy acts making the whole three hours show very enjoyable. The stories are usually ended with some useful moral lessons.
Traditional dance performances make it even more interesting, where energetic movements and colorful costumes of the Ronggengs (the female dancers) really liven up the night.
Another important part of the show is the Nayagas – the gamelan (traditional music instruments) players. They play the music to accompany the dancers and also to provide sound effects during the play. The Nayagas work really hard to ensure that the music fits every scene. It is essential to amplify the effect of the play, including the comedy acts.
It was a delightful performance, accomplishment of months of training from all young Indonesians who were involved in the show.
Candi Prambanan, one of the biggest Hindu temple compounds in Indonesia (candi means temple). The temple is located at the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java, and is one of the must-visit place on the area. When you do, make sure that you also watch the performance. Not just old temple, you can also get the experience to learn about Javanese folktale in a form of traditional dancing and music under spectacular lightings.
At an open space amphitheatre, at the temple’s yard, during the full moon nights, a group of dancers and gamelan players and maybe hundreds of technicians were working together to present the famous performance; Ramayana Ballet – an epic love story.
Entering the gate, you will be welcomed by beautiful music from the gamelan (gamelan is a set of traditional music equipments) played by nayaga. The music will send us back to hundred years ago, back to the ancient kingdom era.
A splendid lighting arrangement, also supported by the moon light, creates a perfect ambience – perfect to feel the dramatic atmosphere in the air.
The story reveals the fight of good and evil; between Rama, who was helped by Hanoman, against Rahwana, to save Shinta – Rama’s wife.
The dancers movement, the costumes detail and dazzling make-up put the soul of each characters. The adjustment of the lighting that follows each scene, including fire here and there, will give you the real-feel. The show was colossal, even majestic, as there were around 100 dancers on the stage.
It’s two hours of great traditional music and amazing traditional dance. At the end of the show, you can take picture with the dancers. It surely is a special souvenir from Indonesia. It surely is a different story to tell. Unforgettable.