12 April 2013

Cap Go Meh.

As I mentioned in a previous post I wrote, 10 February was the first day of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Snake). And the celebration ended at the end of that month with the Cap Go Meh (pronounced chap goh may) festival. The town was buzzing with commotion as people prepared for the festival. It was wonderful to be there and witness the festivities. 

Dragons and their small furry friends, barongsai, walked throughout the streets of Pontianak on the few days leading to Cap Go Meh. Their arrival was announced by the mesmerizing beat of drums and cymbals. Traffic came to a halt and people stopped, stared, and tried to grab a thread from the dragons for good luck. I LOVE the barongsai. Barongsai is a small Chinese dragon. They have the body of a puppy and the head of a Chinese dragon, and they are so cute! 

There was an amazing parade on the last day (at night, the dragons are burned). The barongsai dance performances were pretty cool to watch due to their rhythmic body shaking. For two hours, I watched about eight dragons walk down the street, more barongsai dance performances, and other traditional dances originating from across the archipelago. 
The main Chinese clans of Pontianak create and own some of the 
larger dragons. I ran into this dragon while I was out with a friend at night. 

During the day, students paraded the streets with smaller dragons. 

The student in the middle had the honor of holding up the head of the dragon. 

People reach to grab a thread from the dragon for good luck. 

A red lantern floats high above the crowds below. 

One of the dragons chasing a fireball. 

A view of the parade from my seat at a balcony. 

High school bands performed form the governor, his wife, and other city officials. 

The barongsai!

A performance of a traditional dance. 

The dragon chases the fireball down the street. 

Koi fish - a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. The performers then spun 
around together with the koi fish to from the shape of Yin and Yang. 

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