There was joy and laughter in the yard of Fort Vastenburg, Surakarta, Central Java, in the afternoon of Oct. 6, with 30 reog (traditional masked dance) groups giving a remarkable performance at this year’s Semarak Singo Barong, a masked dance festival.
Coming from Surakarta, the nearby Sukoharjo, also in Central Java, Malang, Ngawi and Ponorogo in East Java, the performers played the roles of jathil (mounted soldiers), warok (honorable figures providing guidance and protection) and bujang ganong (energetic and comical martial artists), with some wearing dadak merak or barongan (tiger head or peafowl plume masks).
Opened with an impressive reog performance by a child, the event continued with a parade of reog troupes. The stunning costumes and lively dancers entertained the audience, who had been waiting patiently for the festivities to begin.
The festival, now in its fifth year, aims to nurture appreciation for local culture, preserve tradition and pass it on to the next generation.