The Jakarta Post
The seventh Aceh Cultural Week is set to return to Banda Aceh, Aceh province, from Aug. 5 to 15.
As was the case with previous iterations of this event, Aceh Cultural Week VII will once again highlight all the cultural treasures that Aceh has to offer, from its ethnic traditions and historical artifacts to various handicraft products from across the region.
The goal is to spread public awareness of Aceh's rich cultural heritage, especially the youth, so that they can better understand the wealth and authenticity of their own culture.
For the event's organizers, this is especially pertinent in today's age of social change and technological progress both of which can impact on culture and even move a culture away from its roots.
As such, in order to revitalize, preserve and strengthen Aceh's cultural values, the organizers of the cultural week has chosen "Revitalizing Aceh’s Islamic Culture" as the event's theme.
This theme is important, as Aceh culture is identical to its religious values, especially since Islam has significantly influenced its development throughout history.
To help promote this theme, the organizers are dividing the cultural week into seven main activities.
The event will begin with an opening ceremony that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is set to lead. The opening, to be held at Harapan Bangsa Stadium, will also be accompanied by a city wide cultural parade that will start and end at Blang Padang.
An exhibition and display section of the cultural week will give visitors a glimpse into Aceh's history, food, creative products and tourism industry.
Subjects to be highlighted at the history exhibit include archeology (at Gunongan Historical Park), ethnography (at the Kerkhof and Ali Hasymi museums) and a history of disasters (at the Tsunami Museum) from Aug. 7 to 15.
Those who want to purchase creative products and enjoy the event's very own people's market can visit Blang Padang field to buy various artistic and commercial products on the same dates as the history exhibit.
Business visitors can check out the tourism bazaar at the Hermes Palace Hotel on Aug. 9, or have a business tour of Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar and Sabang from Aug. 5 to 8.
Aceh's culinary heritage will be on display at Sulthanah Safiatuddin Park from Aug. 7 to 15. The park will host cooking demonstrations of traditional Aceh food from Aug. 9 to 14.
The event's arts and culture festival will introduce event goers to the customs, arts and culture of Aceh.
Most of the festivities will be held at Sulthanah Safiatuddin Park, with numerous traditional dances and concerts set to be held in the main stage area until Aug. 11. Visitors can also enjoy various Acehnese cultural performances at the park from Aug. 7 to 12.
For those looking specifically for Islamic art, an exhibition will be held at all the venues hosting cultural week events from Aug. 9 to 10.
Cultural contests will be held during cultural week. They include the cooking of traditional food, as well as customary and marriage ceremony processions, which will be held at Sulthanah Safiatuddin Park. Other contests include a traditional fashion competition at the Tsunami Museum.
A seminar on culture and maritime affairs to discuss the potential of Aceh's culture and maritime industry will also be held.
The seminar’s theme will be “Challenges and Strategies for Developing Maritime Culture in Aceh”. Topics to be covered include Aceh’s maritime potential, halal tourism, local wisdom and ethnic languages. It will be held on Aug. 13 and 14.
A cultural awards ceremony will be held to show appreciation for individuals and groups in Aceh that have contributed to preserving culture in the region.
Aceh Cultural Week’s closing ceremony will be held at Sulthanah Safiatuddin Park on Aug. 15 and will be led by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf.