The Jakarta Post
An illustration of wayang kulit performance. The Tong Tong Fair displays a diverse mix of performances, culinary, as well as arts and crafts from May 25 until June 5. (Shutterstock.com/Vladimir Wrangel)
The 2017 Tong Tong Fair in The Hague, the Netherlands concluded its run earlier this week, marking the end of its 59th annual run in showcasing Indonesian culture in the European city.
The cultural event displayed a diverse mix of performances, foods, as well as arts and crafts from May 25 until June 5, the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague said in a statement on its website, adding that the festival each year could on average draw 150,000 visitors.
Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja officially opened the festival last month in a ceremony at the Tong Tong Theatre, marked by the ringing of the gong in front of the 100 people that attended.
In his remarks, Puji expressed pride as the festival had entered its 59th year, saying that the event provided a taste of Indonesia to Dutch citizens, as well as Indonesians living in the Netherlands.
As the festival "presents the beauty of Indonesia", the envoy further noted that it was also an opportunity to familiarize Southeast Asian culture to European audiences.
"Thus the festival is able to bridge a good relationship and also enhance in the context of people to people contact between the Dutch and Indonesian communities in particular," the embassy's statement said.
The festival also saw participation from Indonesian regional administrations, with representatives opening stands at the fair, holding cooking demonstrations, as well as organizing traditional performances from their respective regions.
West Sumatra and Jakarta had among others presented traditional music and dances, while West Java introduced to the audience wayang golek (traditional puppets) performances, bringing the tale of Bisma Gugur presented by puppeteer Nandang Spriatna.
Other attractions included performances by singer-songwriter Indra Lesmana, jazz band Hajar Bleh Bigband, wayang kulit (shadow puppets) tale of Srikandi Mustokoweni performed by Amar Pradopo, as well as a gamelan ensemble serenade of the Central Javanese song "Witing Kelapa". (liz/kes)
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