Muslims hold parade, tourism won’t be affected
The predominantly Muslim village of Pegayaman in Sukasada district, Buleleng, organized a joyful street procession on Thursday afternoon to welcome the holy month of Ramadhan.
According to the village’s elder H. Nengah Abdul Gofar Ismail, the annual taaruf parade is their way of welcoming the fasting month. “It has been our tradition to begin the Ramadhan month with joy,” said Nengah.
The village is one of several ancient Muslim enclaves in the island. These enclaves have strong cultural and emotional ties with the respective royal families and traditional Balinese villages in the regions. The ties are so strong in Pegayaman that the Muslim villagers adopt Balinese surnames as well as using Balinese language in their daily life.
Hundreds of villagers of all ages joined the parade that began at the village’s Jamik Safinatussalam Mosque after the villagers finished performing ashar prayers at around 4 p.m. The parade celebrants merrily played various musical instruments, such as the percussive rebana.
Meanwhile, a display of drumming was performed by students from the local school. Many other villagers watched the parade along the sides of the roads.
The parade travelled around its five hamlets: Timur Jalan, Barat Jalan, Kubu, Antasari and Kubu Lebah.
Separately, an official confirmed that the fasting month would not affect tourist activities on the island of Bali. The island’s entertainment and food and beverage businesses will continue to maintain their hours of operation.
Nyoman Arya, spokesman for the provincial office of religious affairs, told Bali Daily on Thursday afternoon that the office would not issue any announcements regarding the limitation or restriction of the operation of entertainment spots, eateries, nightclubs or other establishments during the Ramadhan fasting month until the Idul Fitri holidays.
“Bali is an international tourist destinations with thousands of visitors coming to the island every day,” Arya said.
Muslims are a minority in Hindu dominated Bali. “But, it is important to know that religious tolerance among people of various faiths remains strong,” the spokesman said.
In other parts of Indonesia outside Bali, city and regional administrations have issued restrictions on restaurants and entertainment venues, a policy aimed at respecting Ramadhan and ensuring a conducive environment for Muslims to observe the holy month.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Bali chapter of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI), said all hotels, restaurants, and entertainment spots in Bali would serve their guests as usual.
“There will be no limitations on any tourist spots, entertainment centers or sports sites,” Markus said.
Employees of hotels and restaurants will also have similar working hours. “There are many Muslim employees, but they will work full time,” he added. Djinaldi Gosana, executive director of the Bali Hotel Association, agreed that Bali was a multi-cultural ethnic society.
“No religious activities have a negative impact on tourism. We pay respect to all religious events,” Gosana said.
Bali saw people of diverse religious backgrounds living in harmony, he said.
In several Muslim enclaves in Denpasar, hundreds of people are gearing up to welcome Ramadhan with traditional and religious activities.