Releasing sky lantern in Thailand, Taiwan, China and other countries in Asia during special occasion may not be a surprise anymore. In fact, sky lantern was used to deliver the ‘hidden’ message written on the lantern way back centuries in China, during the wartime. So, when I was told about an event in INDONESIA, where we will have a chance to release a sky lantern as well, I was surprised! Dieng Culture Festival 2014, this is the event I am talking about. 🙂
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What Is Dieng Culture Festival
Dieng Culture Festival (DCF) 2014 is the 5th annual cultural event held at Dieng Highland, Wonosobo, Central Java, Indonesia. If we want to know more about the local arts, cultures and traditions at one shot, then we shall not miss this event. This is one of the steps taken by the government to preserve the local cultures and its values while at the same time as their effort to create more awareness of Dieng Highland as one of the attraction places in Indonesia, too.
There were three types of event passes available: Normal, VIP, and VVIP. The GA crew got us a VIP pass which would give us more convenient access to a certain programme during the event. DCF 2014 ran for two days with few programme highlights as following:
- Ritual Ruwat Rambut Gembel – Haircutting ritual of the kids with dreadlock hairs
- Mass Sky Lanterns Release – Accompanied by the fireworks show
- JazzAtasAwan (translated: Jazz Above Cloud) – Outdoor jazz music performance near to Arjuna Temple. They named it so, could be because of the elevation of Dieng Highland which is at 2000 metres above sea level. Reaching sky and cloud, eh?
- Cultural parades and Dieng film competition
We only attended two of them which were the Mass Sky Lantern Release and the Ritual Ruwat Rambut Gembel.
On The Way To Dieng Culture Festival 2014
After about 6 hrs ride from Borobudur Temple, we finally reached Dieng Highland. The journey was longer than we expected due to the traffic and the long uphill road heading to our destination. So, no matter how fast we wanted to be, we just couldn’t! Anyway, safety first.
The first stop, once we entered Dieng Plateau area, was Dieng Plateau Theatre where we watched a 20 mins documentary show of Dieng history, “Bumi Kahyangan Dieng Plateau”. The show is in Bahasa Indonesia with English subtitles. If you are totally new to Dieng Highland, it’s recommended to visit here for the show before going to other spots around Dieng Highland. The theatre has up to 100 seat capacity with 2x3m screen. It was officially opened by the former President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on 6 March 2006.
Mass Sky Lantern Release
After we dropped our luggage and had our dinner at our homestay, we rush our way to the festival. The traffic near to the venue was slow – either human or vehicles, all was trying to find their way to the festival. We alighted quite far and walked to the venue entrance. While I was walking my way to the venue, one of the GA crews told me that the number of visitors this year was much higher compared to the previous years. The Event Organizer didn’t anticipate it, too.
From far, I could see many small yellow lights floating in the dark sky then I realized those were the lanterns! I was thrilled! It’s started! Although It was not my first time releasing sky lantern – I did it twice in Taiwan before, but again, releasing sky lantern in INDONESIA….? Seriously, I was excited! I never thought I would do it in Indonesia.
Only VIP and VVIP pass holder got the lantern, two people sharing one. The lantern was simple, not big and yeah..required and extra effort to get it flew. Ha..I still enjoyed it much though, especially with a group of friends. Weee….. 😀
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At the same time, “JazzAtasAwan” was happening at the other side of the venue, near to Arjuna Temple. We couldn’t get any closer to the stage. The place was just so packed with people! So..I decided to just take a photo of the stage from far..far..away…
“Just if the Event Organizer has control over the crowd or limit the number of visitors to the event, it would be much better.“
Why did I say so?
The crowd was just unbelievable. We have to form a tutu-train line while passing through all those people in front of us so that we wouldn’t lose each other. We lost two of our friends. The crowds held us back for staying longer there. So, after we have found our friends, we left the place.
Although I enjoyed it if I remember the uncontrollable crowd which keep coming in, I would be back next time ONLY after they have improved their crowd controlling issue. It should be a cultural festival and not a squeezing festival. 🙂
So, hey, DCF Organizers! If you read this, this is my feedback. Let’s make it better in DCF 2015! 🙂