Previous article: Sam Poo Tay Djien, A Semarang Legacy
Every 29th or 30th day of the 6th month in the Chinese calendar, Semarang citizens celebrate Zheng’s arrival in annual festival. It is an important commemoration for city, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century after Simongan was bought bu a Chinese philanthropist Oey Tjie Sien.
Sam Po Kong Festival later become an international event featuring displays and business, seminars, firework displays and business showcases organized by the local Sam Po Kong Foundation collaborating with government and many other organizations. People from all over Indonesia and the world flock to Semarang to join the locals for worship and to experience the attractions.
Celebration of Harmony
Duringh the three-day festival, the temple is decorated with lanterns and candles. On the first day, the festivity is centered at a stage in the temple where local artists perform both Chinese and Javanese cultural shows, followed the next day with a procession of the statue of Sam Po Tay Djien from the Tay Kak Sie Temple to the Sam Po Kong Temple.
At the height of the celebration, lively Barongsay and Liong dances join the parade, drawing enchanted tourists and spectators alike. The merriment continues into the following day with various performances and competitions almost all night long. There is also a variety of food stalls serviong traditional Chinese and Javanese delicacies as well as souvenir shops offering unique mementos to take home.
Indeed, the Sam Po Kong Festival reflects the harmony of diverse ethnicities and religious beliefs in Semarang: the Javanese, the Chinese, the Moslem and the Buddhist. It is a legacy that reaches far beyond architectural tributes in the form of temples and monuments. The great admiral has left an outstanding heritage that has become the foundation of life in Semarang. A Semarang legacy.
Text: Ninus Andarnuswari
Source: Journey Indonesia Magazine
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