Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Noisy, wet New Year in Bali

Noisy, wet New Year in Bali
The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Mon, 01/03/2011 11:22 AM | Bali
Heavy rain and thunder on New Year’s Eve failed to stop Denpasar residents from celebrating the festivities by gathering with their families and lighting firecrackers.

The cracking sounds were heard incessantly across the city as children and adults enjoyed the mood.

“We joined the New Year euphoria with these few firecrackers we bought, and that’s what our neighbors did as well,” said Ketut Rika from Tabanan, who gathered with her family in the Sanglah area.

The sound of firecrackers stopped for a while as a downpour showered the capital around 9 p.m., but resumed as soon as the rain ceased and proceeded until dawn.

Culinary enthusiasts flocked to dozens of restaurants along Jl. Teuku Umar, one of the famed food centers in the downtown area.

“Having dinner together has been our routine agenda every New Year eve. Either we cook at home or go out to a restaurant,” mother of two Ni Wayan Herawati said while buying cakes at a bakery.

The festive New Year mood filled the air beginning Friday morning, especially at the Denpasar Festival, held in at the heart of the city.

Throngs of residents visited every booth presented at the festival while waiting for a cultural parade in the afternoon during the “Bid 2010’s Sun Farewell” event.

“This event successfully attracted residents, despite the poor weather. They were very enthusiastic to see the sun’s farewell ritual,” said festival steering committee member IGN Eddy Mulya.

Unlike previous festivals, this year saw a greater variety of traditional dance performances from all over the archipelago, including the Mandau dance from Kalimantan, Piring from Sumatra and Ronggeng from Betawi.

“We presented more traditional dances to attract visitors and appreciate the nation’s culture,” Eddy said.

As the cultural parade ended, a string of shows were presented to entertain visitors, ranging from Calon Arang, leather puppet performance and live music that lasted until the final seconds of 2010.

Some residents were stunned, and some laughed while observing photographs depicting memories of the capital in a photo exhibition held by the Denpasar Photographers Community in one booth at the festival.

Around 15 photos were displayed in frames in the “Beauty of Denpasar” exhibition, most of which were about the city’s cultures and natural beauty.

Among the cultural theme photos was one displaying the Ogoh-ogoh festival held on the Hindu’s Day of Silence, as well as another depicting the annual Omed-omedan ritual.

Another photo displayed an offerings vendor resting against the wall of an old building in the heritage area of Jl. Gajah Mada. The photo was framed in a tin and equipped with a light bulb.

The Lingkar and Lubang Jarum communities exhibited their photos in a unique way, including black and white pictures hung like laundry.

Dozens of other photos were inserted in plastic bags filled with water, resembling ornamental fish usually sold in plastics, giving the photos a dome-shaped effect.

The photographers recorded the city’s daily hustle and bustle, such as vendors in traditional markets and children playing on public fields.

Bali police chief Insp. Gen. Hadiatmoko stated that the New Year’s Eve celebration in Bali went smoothly with only minor security disturbances. “Several crimes indeed took place, yet the number of crimes was minuscule compared to the nearly four million inhabitants of the island. Generally speaking, we had a very safe and peaceful New Year’s Eve celebration,” he said Sunday after giving a report through a teleconference facility to the Indonesia National Police chief.

Bali Police recorded 19 cases of criminal activity on the night of the celebration, leaving eight people dead and 11 severely injured.

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