Huge turnout for the closing of Naik Dango
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
The crowd was growing bigger by the second as they waited local artist Cupi Cupita to perform during the closing ceremony of Wonderful Indonesia Festival in conjunction with ‘Pekan Gawai Naik Dango’ in Sambas, West Kalimantan.
The two-day festival was hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Sambas district and the Dewan Adat Dayak (DAD) Sambas.
The Naik Dango celebration is a thanksgiving celebration to the gods for a bountiful harvest and is celebrated across all Dayak communities in Kalimantan.
This year marks the 10th year Gawai Naik Dango has been celebrated in Sambas and the first time the Wonderful Indonesia Festival has been held in conjunction with this celebration.
“The Gawai Dayak Naik Dango tradition is held with an aim to introduce and spread the local culture. It is hoped that this kind of event can help cultivate creativity especially among the youths in terms of art and culture appreciation,” said head of Dewan Adat Dayak (DAD) Kalimantan Barat, Andreas during the closing ceremony on June 4th.
Andreas also said that the event can also strengthen the cross-border relations between Kalimantan and Sarawak, as the Naik Dango event is a unique tourist attraction.
By the end of 2016, the repairs and construction of the road from Entikong to Pontianak are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
According to Indonesian Consul General for Sarawak Jahar Gultom, road repairs and construction will enable more visitors from Sarawak to visit Kalimantan, Indonesia as visitors from Sarawak who travel with their own vehicles will have an easier and more comfortable access to Kalimantan via the Tebedu checkpoint.
“So when repairs and construction to the road connecting Pontianak to Kuching have been completed, I am sure more visitors will come with their own vehicles,” said Jahar, adding that more efforts are being carried out to attract Sarawak tourists to West Kalimantan.
“Most visitors who come here with their vehicles are to witness and celebrate ‘Naik Dango’ and we highly encourage them to visit Kalimantan,” said Jahar.
Besides that, Jahar also added that the availability of direct flights from Hong Kong to Kuching can also increase the number of tourist visits to Kalimantan.
According to Jahar, about 30 km of the road are yet to be completed.
Among the activities held during the two-day festival were traditional dance performances, fashion shows featuring traditional ethnic costumes and special appearance by Indonesian artist Cupi Cupita and Indra Syahnilam during the closing ceremony.
Among those present during the closing ceremony was Sambas Province Head of Dewan Adat Dayak (DAD) Dr Bonefasius MM, deputy assistant for international tourism marketing strategy Ratna Suranti and Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry deputy marketing assistant Eddy Susilo.