Saturday, January 10, 2009

Festival celebrates 'peranakan' culture

A woman wearing a kebaya encim, a traditional blouse of Chinese Indonesians, walks past photographs at Peranakan Festival in Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Central Jakarta, on Friday.

The festival, which runs from Jan. 9 to Feb. 1, displays around 30 photos and hundreds of ethnographic items depicting the history and culture of peranakan Chinese. It aims to inform people about the history and culture of the peranakan ahead of Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan. 26.

Peranakan is a term used for the descendants of the early Chinese immigrants to the Southeast Asia region (in Indonesia and Malaysia), who have partially adopted indigenous customs as part of acculturation and/or an intermarriage process with indigenous communities. The other group is called totok, who hold the Chinese culture more strongly than the peranakan.

Peranakan constitute the majority of Indonesia's Chinese-descent population.

Pictures at the festival depict, among others, peranakan religious activities, weddings, traditional fashion and culinary delights. During the opening Friday, the festival held a special Barong Landung performance, a rarely performed and unique traditional Balinese dance influenced by Chinese culture.

The peranakan population in Indonesia is estimated to be around 7 million of the total 230 million Indonesian population, the festival catalogue stated.

The festival is organized by the Forum for Indonesian Anthropological Studies (FKAI) and Lim&Ong Heritage Consulting.

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