Singkawang's Minutes of Rhapsody
My Chinese New Year celebration last year took peak in Singkawang, Kalimantan for the lantern festival. It takes course on the fifteenth day after the Chinese New Year, thus come the term Cap Go Meh.
Throughout the city, there were series of celebrations. Singkawang was filled with lights and the days leading to Cap Go Meh, the festive vibe got more intense.
Tatung parade was the main spectacles that brought people to Singkawang. The city was literally closed from early in the morning to give ways for parade. It involved 700 temples from the surrounding cities and even contingents from Thailand and other parts of Indonesia.
The word “Tatung” referred to the men and women appointed to gave in to spirits of ancient gods, goddesses, and legendary heroes. Only chosen ones could take part as Tatungs.
When you were chosen to be a Tatung, you are obliged to indulge yourselves to fast and pray before the gods. This rituals were believed to be the reason why they feel no pain, even when they have to pierce themselves without anesthesia.
I always love to be surprised with the unexpected stories on corners of Indonesia’s richness. It was indeed a Chinese New Year follow up like no others. – Rassi Narika