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Jakarta Post

A boisterous royal ritual

  • Wendra Ajistyatama

    The Jakarta Post

Kutai Kartanegara   /   Sat, July 6, 2013   /  05:01 pm
A boisterous royal ritual

Extgravaganza: Dancers perfom the Kancet Lasan at the festival'€™s opening.

Erau comes from the Kutai word eroh, meaning noisy, boisterous and cheerful. The pervading atmosphere of joy and excitement is in the sense of various groups engaged in activities to celebrate an event recognizing the significance of sacred rituals and entertainment.

The Erau International Folklore and Art Festival, also known as the Kutai cultural festival, is one of the grandest events on the Kutai calendar and is eagerly awaited by tourists '€” as well as photographers.

The festival comprises a host of art and cultural activities from June 30 to July 8 in the royal city of Tenggarong in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan. This year'€™s celebration has also been enlivened by the participation of art troupes from 12 countries.

The event was first held long ago as a ritual ground-touching and bathing ceremony for Aji Batara Agung Dewa Sakti, when he became five. When he reached adulthood and enthroned as the first king of Kutai Kartanegara in 1300, an Erau ritual was also conducted.

From then on, the rituals have been organized when there has been a succession or coronation of a new monarch.

While serving as an enthronement ceremony, the Erau ritual has also been held to confer titles from the king to distinguished figures or community leaders rendering services to the kingdom.

At the end of the era of Kutai Kartanegara kingdom in 1960, the region was turned into a regency with autonomous status.

However, the Erau tradition has been preserved as a popular cultural festival '€” and a as part of events to commemorate the founding of Tenggarong, the former seat of the Kutai Kartanegara kingdom.

Too cool: A woman in traditional Dayak clothing sports a pair of sunglasses at the opening of the Erau International Folklore and Art Festival.Too cool: A woman in traditional Dayak clothing sports a pair of sunglasses at the opening of the Erau International Folklore and Art Festival.

Procession: A dance troupe from France parades during the fesitval'€™s opening ceremony.Procession: A dance troupe from France parades during the fesitval'€™s opening ceremony.

Focused: The '€œMendirikan Ayu'€ (Raise Love) procession at the Erau International Folklore and Art Festival.Focused: The '€œMendirikan Ayu'€ (Raise Love) procession at the Erau International Folklore and Art Festival.

Welcome: A troupe of dancers from Japan was on hand for the festival, one of 12 groups from outside Indonesia to attend.Welcome: A troupe of dancers from Japan was on hand for the festival, one of 12 groups from outside Indonesia to attend.

At play: Boys enjoy traditional games at the festival.At play: Boys enjoy traditional games at the festival.

Dance fever: Several dancers perform the hudoq dance from the Bahau Dayak and Modang people. More than 30 ethnic groups were represented at the festival.Dance fever: Several dancers perform the hudoq dance from the Bahau Dayak and Modang people. More than 30 ethnic groups were represented at the festival.

Pensive: A performer prepares for the hudoq dance.Pensive: A performer prepares for the hudoq dance.

'€” Photos By JP/Wendra Ajistyatama