The World Cap Go Meh Celebration in Singkawang

Cap Go Meh Celebration in Singkawang

Singkawang, - For the Chinese, the Cap Go Meh celebration is the starting point for all activities. On that day, all evil spirits and elements must be removed so that people's lives are not disturbed.

The Cap Go Meh Festival is also known as the Lantern Festival, Shang Yuan, or Xiao Guo Nian (Little New Year). Chinese people believe Cap Go Meh or the 15th of the first month of Chinese New Year as the starting point for starting all activities. On that day, all evil spirits and elements that will interfere must be removed so that people's lives are not disturbed.

Therefore, the Cap Go Meh celebration is usually carried out by holding a ritual of rejecting reinforcements. People of Chinese descent in Indonesia carry out the ritual of rejecting reinforcements with bio jutsu. Namely carnival or procession around the city by carrying kimsin or sacred statues of the gods. Apart from repelling reinforcements, Jut Bio is also expected to be a means of spreading God's blessings to residents.

"Passed or stopped by kimsin, it raises hope for them to avoid all disasters and get abundant blessings, especially success in trade," said Nugroho, Head of the Cap Go Meh Celebration in Lasem, Central Java, some time ago.

Cities in Indonesia that have a strong Chinese tradition, always hold the Cap Go Meh carnival tradition. But the most lively, even famous abroad is the Cap Go Meh celebration in Singkawang, West Kalimantan. In this city, the celebration is marked by the procession of hundreds of tatung, louya, or magic people, who are believed to be able to ward off evil spirits.

"They go around the city on this Cap Go Meh day to ward off evil spirits that will disturb the safety of the residents for the next year," explained Bong Cin Nen, one of the committee members.

Standing on a palanquin carried by dozens of attendants, the tatung showed off their magic along the way. Standing on broken glass or the sharp edge of a knife, even stabbed it all over the body without the slightest injury. There were also those who stabbed irons the size of bicycle spokes, penetrating the right cheek to the left cheek without a drop of blood coming out.

Some even pierced the cheek with an iron the size of an adult finger or a twig of a plant that was still covered in leaves, also without bleeding. Amazingly, the irons are still added with heavy loads up to kilograms without causing tearing of the cheeks. There are those who give the iron axle weights with bicycle rims and toy cars at the ends.

"When along the way, tatung-tatung show magical attractions, it is a manifestation that they are magical people who are able to ward off evil spirits," continued Bong Cin Nen.

The ritual of cleaning the city, preceded by prayers asking for permission to the god who is believed to control the land of Singkawang, the day before. On that day, the tatung moved from their respective pekong (temple) to the Tri Dharma Bumi Raya Vihara. In this temple, which is often called Pekong Tua, it is believed that the God of the Great Earth (Toapekkong) resides.

After asking permission from the God, they then showed off their magic in front of the temple. The show of magic continued when the capgomeh arrived, starting when they gathered at the Kridasana Stadium to when they marched around the city.

Along the way they are the attention of millions of local residents and tourists who come to witness this attraction. As part of the ritual of cleaning the city, the tatung sprinkled water and rice that had been given a prayer to the public. Of course while still performing like they showed when they were still in the stadium. (Christanto Wahyu)