Festivals are celebrated with great fervour in the Kalimantan region of Borneo. Traditions rule the festivities whether its independence from Dutch colonial rule or celebration of a good harvest. Dragon races, tasty food preparations, tribal dances, visits to relatives and friends are a norm during such events. People in Kalimantan love to share their happiness with each other and festivities give them just another chance to do so.
Gawai DayakGawai Dayak is religious festival celebrated by the Borneo people of Sarawak and Kalimantan in order to express their joy and gratefulness for the rewarding harvest. Celebrations for the festival held on June 1, start from a day earlier when rice preparations are cooked, ceremonies are offered to thank the gods and houses are decorated. On the day of the festival, cock fighting matches, blowpipe and ngajat competitions are held. On this day, Dayaks visit their friends and relatives.
Erau FestivalThe Erau is traditional, biennial cultural festival taking place in Tenggarong, Kalimantan to celebrate the Sultan of Kutai Kartanegara coronation. After the reign of the Sultanate ended in the mid 20th century, the people of the region kept celebrating the ceremony to preserve their traditions. Traditionally, the festival comprised of slaughtering of animals and humans but today these practices no longer exist. The festival which is held every September represents the Indonesian arts and culture scene with traditional tribal ceremonies, sports performances, and Malay arts.
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Robo – RoboThe traditional Robo – Robo ceremony which literally translates into Wednesday is from the town of Mempawah, West Kalimantan. Held on the last week of Syafar Islamic month, it commemorates the arrival of the founder of Mempawah kingdom, Opu Daeng Manambon from Matan Kingdom to Mempawah Kingdom on a water vessel some 270 years ago. Some people also celebrate this day to avert disasters as they believe Syafar is the month of tragedies.
Imlek (Chinese) New YearChinese New Year celebrated in Indonesia is known as Imlek. Brought by the Chinese immigrants, they still practise the traditions handed down by their ancestors. Chinese rejoice on the festival by visiting friends and family, enjoying dragon and dance performances, fireworks, gorging at food stalls and decorating homes with red lanterns.
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Cap Go MehThe 15th day of the Lunar New Year when the first full moon of the year occurs is better known as Cap Go Meh festivity in Indonesia. It is a vivacious 3-day festival held to underline the Chinese New Year celebrations. In Kalimantan, this event is prominently celebrated in the cities of Pontianak and Singkawang with rituals such as eye opening ritual, art and cultural performances and dragon & lantern parades showcasing the multicultural diversity of Dayak, Malay and Chinese ethnic groups in Indonesia.
Traditional Boat RaceTraditional boat races in the provincial capital of Banjarmasin celebrate Indonesia Independence Day (Hari Proklamasi) on August, 17. Locally, known as Lomba perahu jukung traditional, colourfully decorated boats race down the Martapura River cheered by enthusiastic crowds.
Aruh Ganal Suku DayakCelebrated in the town of Loksado, South Kalimantan, Aruh Ganal Suku Dayak is a thanksgiving ceremony propagated by the chief of the village with a special Belian spiritual dance. It is held after harvesting on every night for a week, between July to September.
Derawan Island FestivalThe Bajau tribe on the island of Derawan rejoice and offer prayers to their gods on this day for a prosperous life and healthy living conditions. It is held every October.