New Pages: Cap Go Meh (15th day of Chinese New Year)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cap Go Meh (15th day of Chinese New Year)

There has been banners about the Cap Go Meh event which would be held along Jalan Sulawesi at Sunday, 12th February 2006, which means last night.
Yesterday was it. 15th day of Chinese New Year or well known as Cap Go (15) Meh. Maybe you knew Lontong Capgomeh better then the Cap Go Meh itself…just like my coworker, Rabiah. “Saya kira itu jenis merek, cap ..apa gitu…” hahaha..I get her point directly, maybe she thought, there’s a lontong with brand ‘gomeh’ huehehe…

Reminds me of a sentence on a truck “be are me the”…was confused for a while, what is the meaning.

Well…you know what (if you are from Makassar) the writer wants to say “bi ar mi deh…” hehe….

Ok back to Cap Go Meh issue.

Knowing that event would be held from 19:30 – 00:00, my dad and me walked down the road to go to Jalan Sulawesi few hours after dinner. Why walking? (why asking? hehe..because, it is really not common for Indonesian to walk even thou for such short distance) The street was closed from any vehicles which is great!

We could see the crowd as we approached the street. First place to visit was Vihara Ibu Agung Bahari (Mazu Temple) at the corner of Jl. Serui and Jl. Sulawesi.
I can write down a lengthen complaints on how ugly the renovation of this temple…but this is not the time

At the front gate, five old men were playing music, I took short video with some pictures, unfortunately we cannot upload video in the blog.
We went upstairs where they’ve moved (one of the renovation stupidity) the gods from first floor to 2nd floor. Rooms were filled with incense smoke. 2nd floor is wide, with several columns decorated with red dragons.
At the center of the room there is an additional altar ( I didn’t see it during my last visit) accompanying the main altar which is full of red candles, fruits and cakes.
On the other side of the altar there was a small stage, with forest decoration. Several men in Bugis-Makassar dress were there with their traditional music instruments. Soon, four other men with similar dress started to pose at four wind-directions.
They were holding bamboo sticks going to dance “Gandrang bulo” (bamboo percussions)

We decided to go out after our eyes smarted from the smoke.

Walking up north, there were more and more people. My Dad told me that it was like that in old times. People (particularly singles) roam the street. Secluded ladies left their homes to meet their future husbands. That’s what I found last night. Well they might not be secluded ladies, but girls and boys were meeting up, somehow it is nice. My Dad met so many old acquaintances on that night.

An ancestral house, Nio ancestral house was open. I’ve longed to see the interior of this building. An old man was sitting in front of the gate. Eventually he is one of the family, I assume he is around 80 something. We stepped in and voila…it is really cool. I am so delighted. At the end of the house there is a room with tall black-wood table, with planks of ancestors names. I asked if there’s any possible to revisit the house, he said every first and fifth day of Chinese month the house shall be open.

There were three small stages and one big stage. Several barongsai (dragon dancer) were performing on the street. There were also other performance by local (non-chinese) people. It is great to see such mix audience, where around 40% of the audiences were non-chinese and the Chinese community also came from different type of people (youngsters, kids and elders)

Walked up further north, more and more people were coming into the street. We walked back home through Jalan Sumba and Lombok, passing by Dynasty Hotel. Eventually a dragon dancer group from the neighbouring temple were just caught in fight with another group. I don’t know the detail but all I know one of the member was hit at the nose. They kept saying, “it’s a Chinese who did that!!”. That statement shows there are still strong racial prejudices between Chinese and non-chinese in this city (can imagine if a chinese got hit by non-chinese in Cap Go Meh night?). Thanks to the police and security, the dispute didn’t continue.

As we reached home, I was all sweat. My Dad said it was like playing golf. Well, isn’t it good?
The night was still young (22:30) and dragon dance music still could be heard from distance. Until now, I still keep that happy feeling, a joy of seeing the culture is rejoice, the process of place making for people instead of cars, and a night of great walking trip with my Dad.


Blogger OT said...

Thank you for describing it so good!
I really missed Makassar now. It felt just like the old days when the Chinese and non-Chinese were still live in "supposedly" perfect harmony.. :)

7:36 PM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Arggghh!! I totally forgot the Cap Go Meh, and missed the events in Kota Area. They said there's barongsai from Glodok to Stasiun Kota. Must be spectacular!! hix :(
I really missed Makassar, Yul. Made me envy you, could have time with Pappy, walking together.
i wanna gooo homeeee

8:27 AM  
Anonymous CapGoMeh said...

Good Blog

11:27 AM  
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10:06 AM  

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