A family in Singkawang, West Kalimantan, started their preparations for the Cap Go Meh parade before the crack of dawn.
They are the children of the late Djie Khin Jung, better known as Ajung, a famed tatung (Hakka Chinese word for a person possessed by Gods or the spirits of ancestors) in Singkawang.
Tatung groups often appear at Cap Go Meh celebrations – the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar.
It is believed that tatung have the power to ward off evil spirits and bad luck, also to cure diseases.
Of the 13 Ajung’s children, only seven have tatung talent. Before their tatung ritual later on that day, the eldest son, Ahen, led a procession at their house, which also functions as a Kong Hu Chu temple.
As the sun rises, the seven siblings wore their Chinese royalty-inspired costumes and conducted a couple of other rituals before departing to the parade’s starting point on Jl. Pangeran Diponegoro.
Throughout the parade, the tatungs showcased their extraordinary skills by being stabbed in the mouth, cheeks, lips and ears with metal sticks without suffering pain or wounds. They were accompanied by a mediator, who would communicate with the spirits possessing the tatungs. (yps)