Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yogyakarta celebrates 255th anniversary in Javanese style

Excitement was palpable across downtown Yogyakarta on Friday as people from all different walks of life took to the streets to celebrate the city's 255th anniversary.

Revelers ranged from city administration officials, teachers and students to cart drivers and parking attendants, all dressed in Javanese attire of batik cloth and kebaya blouses for women and of batik and surjan shirts for men.

"Happy anniversary," a teacher at a private junior high school greeted a colleague while preparing to join a school ceremony to commemorate the anniversary on Friday.

The date of the anniversary, publicly marked for the first time in 2004, was decided upon when the first ruler of Yogyakarta, Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, moved from Ambarketawang Palace to Yogyakarta Palace.

While municipal administration officials marked the anniversary at City Hall, teachers and students attended ceremonies in their respective schools. All were held in Javanese style and language.

"It's really fun to have the ceremony in Javanese. Even the state ideology Pancasila was read out in Javanese," said Salsabila, a seventh grader at SMPN 8 state junior high school after attending a ceremony at the school.

Friday's City Hall ceremony was also attended by 22 participants of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung's school for young politicians in Asia.

They came from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

They were visiting the city to learn more about the successes of the Yogyakarta municipal administration, especially in development planning.

"Yogyakarta is considered the right place to learn more about local development planning. It has set a good example on that," a participant of the school, Megha Sarmah from Singapore, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Also held were a subdistrict festival involving all 45 subdistricts in the municipality, panjat pinang (tree climbing contest) and a mosaic parade held in the afternoon from Alun-Alun Utara Square to City Hall.

The peak of the celebration will be on the night of Oct. 22, with the Jogja Java Carnival, which will present street performances on mobile stages involving all elements of communities and international participants.

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