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River festival marks conservation effort in Magelang village

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Magelang, Central Java  /  Sun, July 14, 2019  /  11:02 am
  • A very eye-catching ornamented boat riding the river currents during the parade.

    A very eye-catching ornamented boat riding the river currents during the parade. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    A very eye-catching ornamented boat riding the river currents during the parade.

  • Village figure Slamet prays as part of a ritual.

    Village figure Slamet prays as part of a ritual. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Village figure Slamet prays as part of a ritual.

  • In the afternoon, visitors were entertained with an ornamented boat parade that descended the river for 12 kilometers.

    In the afternoon, visitors were entertained with an ornamented boat parade that descended the river for 12 kilometers. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    In the afternoon, visitors were entertained with an ornamented boat parade that descended the river for 12 kilometers.

  • Participants conduct a river purifying ritual.

    Participants conduct a river purifying ritual. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Participants conduct a river purifying ritual.

  • About 10,000 fish seeds are released during the festival.

    About 10,000 fish seeds are released during the festival. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    About 10,000 fish seeds are released during the festival.

  • The Elo River is often used by visitors as a playground for rafting.

    The Elo River is often used by visitors as a playground for rafting. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    The Elo River is often used by visitors as a playground for rafting.

OF

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. 

Read also: Borobudur photo exhibition puts spotlight on 67-year-old conservationist

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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