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Jakarta Post

Agency calls for review of lantern festivals at Borobudur temple

  • Antara

    The Jakarta Post

Temanggung   /   Sun, June 16, 2019   /   04:03 pm
Agency calls for review of lantern festivals at Borobudur temple Thousands of Buddhists attend a series of processions to celebrate Vesak, which marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha, at Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java. (The Jakarta Post/Tarko Sudiarno)

The Borobudur Conservation Agency has recommended an evaluation of the annual practice of releasing sky lanterns.

Agency official Tri Hartono said the lanterns had littered the sacred heritage site many times and had even caused a fire in 2018. But the damage has gone beyond the site itself, according to Tri.

“Not only do the lanterns litter the temple, they often disrupt electricity,” he said on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency, adding that the Magelang branch of state-owned electricity company PLN had sent a letter of objection regarding the matter.

“We will send further notices to the authorities in Jakarta, as they are the ones who issue permits.”

At every Vesak and New Year celebration, a sky lantern festival is held on the temple compound. In this year’s celebration, LED-lit lanterns were used.

Tri said the Borobudur temple was a sacred heritage site, so it would be counterproductive if people came and littered the place.

He said he planned to bring the issue to the Council of Buddhist Communities (Walubi), adding that there was no relief in the temple about flying lanterns, which also proved that it was merely a recent rather than a past tradition.

The agency would send recommendation and documentation on the damage caused by the lanterns to the Culture Directorate General of the Education and Culture Ministry. (asp)