Ngawi festival spreads message of living in harmony with nature

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Ngawi, East Java

Jakarta   /  Sat, September 8, 2018  /  12:05 pm

The Earth Gravity Festival also features a contemporary bamboo music performance. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Visitors were seen flocking to a small river located in Selo Ondo tourism forest, Ngrayudan village, Ngawi, East Java, on Sunday morning.  

They were busy arranging river rocks into various shapes, creating rock balancing arts as part of the annual Earth Gravity Festival.

The third installment of the festival kicked off on Saturday at Ngrayudan village. To open the festival, the village elders performed a joint prayer, showing gratitude to God for all the blessings.

The opening ceremony also featured various cultural activities and traditional art performances.

On the second day of the festival, locals paraded mountain-shaped piles called gunungan from the village hall to Selo Ondo tourism forest. In addition to the rock balancing competition, the second day also showcased various traditional performances, such as reog ponorogo, the ireng mask dance, dongkrek dance and more.

After the competition, both tourists and locals were allowed to take part in the rock balancing activity.

Read also: Jepitu farmers, fishermen hold thanksgiving ritual for good harvest

Rock balancing has become a part of the daily lives of those living near Selo Ondo.

Ridho Fadillah, 13, said he and his friends visited the river nearly every day to balance rocks.

Balancing rocks without glue, wire or other support is not an easy task. The activity requires patience and concentration.

Since rock balancing brings its participants closer to nature, residents in the village decided to combine the activity with an art and culture festival to spread the message of living in harmony with nature. The villagers also hope that rock balancing can serve as an environmentally friendly tourist attraction in the area. (jes/kes)