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Jakarta Post

‘Sekaten’: A local fair from dusk till dawn

Wed, December 12, 2018   /   03:24 pm
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    Sound of silence: During the day, a number of entertainment booths and machines are not operational. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    A place to relax: Three people fall asleep inside a huge barrel used for a daredevil stunt known as Tong Setan (Devil's Barrel). JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Spooky: Chairs lay empty during the day as the Sekaten fair waits for opening at dusk. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Sweet dreams: Men sleep beside a poster af a local stunt woman. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    All alone: A bicycle left stranded in the empty chair. JP/Boy T Harjanto

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    Generation gap: A small child and a man hang around near the Tong Setan ticket booth. JP/Boy T Harjanto

Boy T Harjanto

The traditional Sekaten night fair to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad in the northern square of the Yogyakarta Palace lasted for over two weeks last month.

Various attractions ranging from games, culinary kiosks and secondhand garment stands became a magnet that drew visitors to the annual event, which took place from Nov. 2 to 19. 2018.

Each year, the exuberant festive atmosphere lasting from dusk until midnight helps to promote the businesses of Yogyakarta’s local business owners, who either hope to make a profit out of transactions, or rely on their income from ticket sales.

The enthusiastic evening ambiance stood in stark contrast to the lethargic mood during the daytime, when the businesspeople and arena operators were not engaging in any activities, but instead were taking a rest, as they had to get themselves refreshed by dusk to again welcome visitors to their booths and games.