World Cultural Festival: Central Sulawesi

Central Sulawesi’s Donggala regency is set to host the World Culture Festival, “Riak Donggala“, starting on Sept. 7. Head of the Donggala Cultural and Tourism Office, Syuaib Djafar, said that the event was intended kick-start the Visit Indonesia Year 2008 tourism promotion.

The event, which will also be attended by foreign participants, will serve as a forum for indigenous Indonesian musicians and to raise people’s awareness of the country’s traditional heritage.

According to Syuaib, his office will not only showcase Central Sulawesi art and culture but also work from other provinces, including Bali. Dances and indigenous music performances will be an important part of the event.

Syuaib criticized the central government for paying more attention to Bali’s traditions and tourism.

He urged the government to also pay attention to the country’s eastern parts, such as Central Sulawesi.

Syuaib said his office also plans to bring in a number of local celebrities from Jakarta, such as Peggy Melati Sukma, Shahnaz Haque and Sarah Sechan for the event.

He said some of the guests might have to stay in Palu hotels due to the limited number of hotels in Donggala. They will then be taken to the festival’s venue by boat across Palu Bay to Donggala city.

Participants will be entertained by Dade Ndate, performed by Palu cultural observer Tjatjo Tuan Sjaichu and accompanied by actress Tamara Bleszinsky, during the boat ride, which takes around 20 minutes.

Dane Ndate is an extended song depicting the daily lives, natural situations and traditions of local people, accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as the gendang (drum) and suling (flute).

“Dade Ndate usually tells a story about everything. History, romance, heritage, struggle and others,” explained Syuaib, adding it was similar to France’s old troubadour songs.

Upon arrival at Donggala Harbor, guests will be greeted in Rato tradition, where yellow rice will be sprinkled on their heads for good blessing and Vaino traditional prayers held for the safety and welfare of guests.

“This event means to showcase Indonesia’s diversity. Besides Bali, the country also has places in its eastern part that are worthy of promotion,” said Syuaib.

Ruslan Sangadji