Some 1,000 Betawi pencak silat martial artists took part in the Silat Art and Cultural Gallery on Saturday.
Held at Rawa Belong silat village in West Jakarta, the event also featured traditional dances, performances and a firework festival, among other attractions.
Speaking to Kompas.com, the gallery’s head Bachtiar said the village residents had long dreamed of such an event.
“This is our homage as Betawi people from Rawa Belong to Pitung,” he said, referring to a historical Betawi figure from the 19th century who joined a group of thieves and robbed the rich to give to the poor.
“We present a variety of Betawi traditional arts and cultures such as pencak silat, lenong [theater], dances and qasidah [Islamic pop music],” he added.
The event also featured ondel-ondel (giant effigies), as well as kerak telor (omelet made of duck eggs and rice) and bir pletok (herb and spice-infused beverages) as popular traditional Betawi culinary items.
According to Bachtiar, Rawa Belong silat village was long known as a home to experts on Betawi culture.
At the event, the martial artists who came from different backgrounds and institutions performed together in synchronized movements.
Participant Farhan Ramadhani said he was excited to have a role in preserving Betawi culture. “I started silat practice three weeks ago. The moves were based on the ‘cingkrik’ style of Rawa Belong,” he said.
Farhan said he hoped the event would continue in the years to come. “After all, this is to preserve and develop Betawi silat. It would be nice if all Betawi people could come to the event,” he said. (wng)
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