Naik Dango in West Kalimantan’s Sambas town a feast for the eyes
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
The weather threatened to rain heavily as dark clouds started to appear in the sky, but the crowd seemed unfazed by the drizzling rain during the ‘Pekan Gawai Naik Dango’ event at Sambas, West Kalimantan.
In an effort to attract more tourists to Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism organised the Wonderful Indonesia Festival in conjunction with ‘Pekan Gawai Naik Dango’ for the first time in Sambas town from June 3rd until 4th.
Located in the Sambas province which is considered the cradle of Dayak culture, the festival showcased an impressive display of local Dayak costumes, graceful yet swift traditional ethnic dance, local handicrafts and delicacies.
Also joining in the two-day festival were 48 visitors from various villages from Biawak, Sarawak.
Among them were Abariah Jalin and Sarvirna Serose, who are visiting Sambas for the first time and noted that the Naik Dango celebration in Sambas was different from our Gawai celebrations back home.
“This festival is really exciting and I see that they still hold on to their cultural roots very tightly,” said Abariah.
For the 21-year-old woman of Selako descent, she found the whole experience to be refreshing as she got to experience how the local Dayak people celebrate Naik Dango and see the different display of costumes and cultures.
“I found the whole experience of celebrating Naik Dango here to be fun and great,” said Sarvirna.
“From the costumes to the culture, they are different from the Dayak in Sarawak and that is what attracted me to come and visit here. While we celebrate Gawai back home, here they have the Naik Dango event instead which is more of a festival,” said the 20-year-old.
Also present during the opening ceremony was Indonesian Tourism Ministry deputy marketing assistant Eddy Susilo.
According to Eddy, Indonesia aims to have 12 million visitors in 2016 with two million visitors from Malaysia as the tourism industry is one of the top five industries in Indonesia.
The Wonderful Indonesia Festival held in conjunction with Pekan Gawai Naik Dango in Sambas is a chance to showcase the locality’s rich culture and traditions to attract more tourists to come and experience the festival themselves.
During the opening ceremony on June 3, the guests were welcomed with traditional dance and choir performances.
The crowd was also entertained by traditional ethnic dance performances, a fashion show featuring a line of Dayak costumes made out of tree bark, and traditional dance competitions.
In addition to this, visitors also got to feast their eyes on a massive display of handicrafts like beaded necklaces and handbags at the bazaar and exhibitions besides as sampling delicious local Sambas delicacy like bubur pedas or spicy porridge.
At the time of writing, Indonesian artist Cupi Cupita and Indra Syahnilam are also expected to make an appearance during the closing ceremony on June 4th.
Also present during the officiating ceremony was Mayor of Sambas Dr. Juliarti Djuhardi Alwi and Head of Dewan Adat Dayak (DAD) Sambas Dr. Bonefasius M.M.