Pesta Rakyat – Indonesian People’s Day

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Words by Rachel Trevarthen

Fishing for beer bottle (mancing botol), lively quiz competitions (Eat Bulaga), the deliciousness of satay, intricate Batik designs and the 1000 hands dance (Saman) are just some of the treats of Indonesia’s rich culture.

Games, food, dancing, clothing, puppetry, comedy and markets combined into a cultural tour de force of Indonesia at this year’s Pesta Rakyat in West End, Brisbane.

Pesta Rakyat Brisbane started in 2008 as a way to deal with homesickness for Indonesian students living in Brisbane and has become an annual celebration of culture and community.DSC_0911a

Annisa Kingkin, project officer for the festival, spoke to SIBW about it.

“Pesta Rakyat used to be a private event but this year we have opened it up, made it free and shared our culture with everyone. I’m thankful that Pesta Rakyat is a magnet for Indonesian people so I can meet everyone and create a community that feels like home,” she says.

Pesta Rakyat is an important event on the calendar for Indonesian people, one of two key celebrations, following Koempoel Rakyat (Folk Gathering) in August for Indonesian Independence Day.

The theme this year is Jakarta Tempoe Doeloe, which means “Old Time Jakarta.” Annisa says this is about celebrating and remembering tradition DSC_0956aand bringing back the richness of Indonesian culture before colonisation.

Ardelia Arwar is the vice president of the Indonesian Student’s Association and says she is so proud to be able to bring her culture to Australia.

“It can be hard living so far from home but here I’ve finally found my family, we Indonesians work together and care for each other,” she says with a beaming smile.

“We also want to create positive intercultural understanding and sharing between Australia and Indonesia as we are close neighbours. I feel this is especially important with the current political climate between our countries. We call all be more open and understanding and celebrate what is great about our cultures.”

Pesta Rakyat is an annual event. To find out more click here.

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Pesta Rakyat – Indonesian People’s Day

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