The Jakarta Post
A Panji performance at Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)
Indonesia will host the International Panji Festival for the first time. Welcoming participants from other ASEAN countries including Cambodia and Thailand, the festival will take place from June 27 to July 13, 2018.
The festival will be held in eight cities including Denpasar, Bali; Surabaya, Malang, Blitar, Tulungagung and Kediri, East Java; Yogyakarta and Jakarta, Tempo.co has reported.
Cultural director of the Education and Culture Ministry Restu Gunawan said in a formal statement, “We want to invite ASEAN countries to celebrate the Panji tales as a world heritage through the International Panji Festival.”
The Panji tales were recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Memory of the World (MoW) on October 31, 2017. “The recognition should be followed up with [corresponding] activities,” said Restu.
Restu also outlined that Panji stories has spread throughout ASEAN countries, with Indonesia as its center, “The values derived from the Panji tales are very close to diversity, character, education and many more. The ASEAN countries have similar cultures.”
Other activities to be included in the event include art performances from ASEAN countries in eight cities, workshops and seminars, student competitions, cultural visits, mask and manuscript exhibitions and many more. Restu added, “Panji is a popular word, it has multiple meanings; it could be a royal title, flag or mask.”
The Panji tales have been passed down through the generations in the form of spoken literature. They tell a story about the heroic acts of Raden Inu Kertapati, also known as Panji Asmarabangun, and his love for Dewi Sekartaji, also known as Galuh Candrakirana. The story has many versions and has spread throughout ASEAN countries, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines. (asw)