The Jakarta Post
In Bojong village, Mungkid district, Magelang, Central Java, the local community has collaborated with the regency's Tourism, Youth and Sports Agency (Disparpora) and the Magelang Rafting Operator Association (POAJM) to preserve a river through a festival.
Held on July 5 to 7, the Kali Elo Festival is a series of cultural art performances established as part of the Kali Elo conservation campaign. Performances from Magelang that were featured on the main stage located on the river banks include the Soreng dance, the Ireng Mask, Grasak and Jathilan.
The festival began with a river clean-up on July 4, in which tourism activists, local administration officials, police officers and nearby residents participated. The next day, a purification ritual was held, led by a village figure named Slamet.
On the banks of Kali Elo, Slamet offered prayers of gratitude to God for granting the natural wealth of the Elo River to the people around Mungkid. Various offerings, incense burning and dances by young women accompanied the prayers sung in the purification ritual.
The ritual continued with the planting of trees along the banks and the release of about 10,000 fish seeds. Meanwhile, in the afternoon, visitors were entertained with an ornamented boat parade that descended the river for 12 kilometers.
"This river has provided many benefits to the people who live around it, so this is our way of giving back," said the agency's head, Iwan Sutiarso.
"The Elo River has become a source of water, fishing and is a natural tourist magnet in the area of Borobudur, hence the locals must develop a sustainable tourism concept in utilizing it,” Iwan added. (nic/kes)
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