Maksum Nur Fauzan
The exquisite cultural event of Grebeg Sudiro captured widespread attention in Surakarta, Central Java, as hundreds of people swarmed to Gede Market on Sunday. They gathered en masse along with their burning enthusiasm to witness the fusion of Javanese and Chinese cultures to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Grebeg Sudiro demonstrated that residents of different ethnic and religious backgrounds could happily mingle as they witnessed the kirab (parade) to honor the diversity in the city.
Sixty-seven groups or roughly 1,500 participants from art and culture groups such as barongsai (lion dance), liong (dragon dance), reog (traditional masked dance) and wayang orang (human puppet) entertained spectators along the parade route.
The joyous performances started off at the entrance gate of Gede Market to the forecourt of Surakarta City Hall, passed Vastenburg Fortress and then returned to Gede Market, where residents grabbed at 4,000 kue keranjang (cake baskets) in the shapes of Loji Gandrung (mayor’s official residence) and the 1945 Monument.
This year, Grebeg Sudiro chose "Conserving Cultures of the Nation to Solidify Diversity" as the main theme for the annual event. Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo earnestly urged residents to maintain the harmony of the city.
“Enhancing diversity is not an easy thing to execute, but it is not a difficult task either. What we need to improve is cooperation and solidarity to preserve Solo and Indonesia,” he said, referring to Surakarta by its popular name.