Singkawang Chap Go Meh and Tatung Possessed


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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pontianak
March 5th 2015
Published: December 5th 2015
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Singkawang is a small town located in a very western part of Kalimantan, Indonesia on the island of Borneo. Cultural and ethnic diversity makes Singkawang so special.

Every year the city celebrates Chap Go Meh in a very unusual way compare to other parts of the region.

Chinese community here lives harmoniously with the Malays and the Dayaks, but spiritually they are still strong practicing the Chinese culture.

Singkawang also known as 'city of a thousand temples' and it has the most traditionally iconic Chinese festivals called the 'Chap Go Meh'.

The uniqueness of Chap Go Meh celebration in Singkawang extends beyond similar festivals in other cities in Indonesia as well as Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. Believe it or not, the whole cities are celebrating the glorious festival.

Chap Go Meh celebrated fifteen days after the Chinese New Year and it is celebrated just anywhere in the world by the Chinese community. It is the highlight of the whole 15-days Chinese New Year celebration.

In Singkawang, it is a big event as big as Christmas for the Christians or Eid al-Fitr for the Muslims. This celebration is meant by the expulsion of bad luck in the future through the expulsion of evil spirits.

Chap Go Meh in Singkawang is symbolized with the 'Tatung' performances and it is the main medium for the Chap Go Meh celebration. Tatung action scenes filled with mysticism and trance.

Tatung summoning ceremony led by the priest who will call the spirits of the ancestors to permeate the body of Tatung. This soul calling session so terrifying for a few individuals even for myself. Yet I had managed to flee from the condition that almost caught myself get to be possessed. Cervical becomes warm and the head feels like heavy. According to the priest, the spirits called are the spirit of the good and to overcome the evil. Among them are the spirit of ancient heroes and saints.

Those who possessed will behave strangely. Standing on the edge of the sword, on the nails and many other sharp objects. There are among those exhibiting parts of the body pierced with the sword without blood, biting dogs or chickens to death and drank the blood. All of this action is shown on the pictures in this article.

This event is still not popular among travelers. However in my
Pondok Gravitasi Pondok Gravitasi Pondok Gravitasi 

Take a break here for Lunch on your journey to Singkawang from Pontianak city. 
opinion, it should be in the top list especially for those who loves to witness the cultural events. Singkawang remote location and accessibility can be the main reasons why this small town is not easily visited by foreign travelers.

This review was made after several visits to Singkawang since 2009 with friends Shiddley Omar, Enge, Aan, Tanti, Risa, Tya, Maurie and Nessa.


Additional photos below
Photos: 57, Displayed: 23


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Chap Go Meh celebration in Pontianak cityChap Go Meh celebration in Pontianak city
Chap Go Meh celebration in Pontianak city

This massive celebration held in Pontianak city, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Singkawang town is another 3 hours by car from Pontianak city. 
Stage Cultural Performance by various ethnic groupsStage Cultural Performance by various ethnic groups
Stage Cultural Performance by various ethnic groups

This show was recorded in Pontianak city, a night before Chap Go Meh in Singkawang. 
Entering Singkawang TownEntering Singkawang Town
Entering Singkawang Town

Entering Singkawang town. Modern with Chinese characteristic 
Beaches Nearby SingkawangBeaches Nearby Singkawang
Beaches Nearby Singkawang

Best place to unwind during your stay in Singkawang town. 


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