Dieng Culture Festival 2017: The Dreadlocks Shaving Ritual in the Abode of the Gods

13 Jun 2017

Unraveling the magical beauty of the mist-shrouded highlands of Dieng Plateau in Central Java, the Dieng Culture Festival 2017 will be held on 4th to 6th August 2017.

Photo source : www.ngetripmulu.com

Held annually as a community celebration, the festival presents a variety of art and cultural performances, an exhibition of Dieng's finest products, and as pinnacle of the event: the shaving off ritual of dreadlocks of kids born with this unique hair. The ceremony is known as Ruwatan anak gembel/gimbal.

Photo source : www.indonesiatrip.id

As always, the festival will be highlighted with the release of traditional lanterns, a popular (wayang kulit) leather puppet show, traditional art and cultural performances, and a fireworks fiesta. Adding sparkle to the festival will be a special Jazz performance aptly entitled Jazz above the Clouds, as well as a special dreadlock kids "ballet". The festival will also take the audience to explore the spellbinding beauty of Dieng panorama. Tourists will witness the spectacular sunrise overlooking the highlands, the morning mist surrounding the ancient temple complex, the breathtaking views of Lake Telaga Warna and the Sikidang Crater, and a whole lot more.

Being the main feature of the festival, the ritual of trimming off of dreadlocks of kids is truly exceptional. While globally dreadlock hair is commonly known as Rastafarian style from Jamaica, here in the highlands of Dieng, dreadlock, or matted hair is not a chosen style but rather a mystifying feature that only occurs in children of the Dieng plateau.

Photo source : www.topindonesiaholidays.com

Dieng's dreadlock children are born with normal hair, but at a certain moment in their young life, their hair amazingly turns dreadlock all by itself. Various studies to scientifically investigate the cause have not resulted in any logical explanation. According to local belief, however, these kids are somehow chosen by the ancestors to accept these gifts. The dreadlocks may, therefore, not be trimmed unless the children themselves ask for it, or such hair will continue to grow back. The precious moment when the dreadlock kids' hair are shaven off is celebrated in a series of ritual ceremonies known as the Ruwatan Anak Gimbal.

The ceremony commences with the procession of the dreadlock kids carried around the village, paraded on a Javanese traditional horse-drawn carriage or Dokar, guarded by Manggala Yudha or royal troops and followed by various traditional art processions. The special kids will then be taken to the Arjuna Temple in the Dieng Temple complex where the ritual of the dreadlock hair cutting will take place. Subsequently, the shaven off hair will be taken to the lake and submerged here as symbol of returning the hair back to the ancestors.

Photo source : www.topindonesiaholidays.com

Located about three hours' drive away from Yogyakarta, or two hours south west from the city of Semarang, the Dieng highlands are truly a marvel all their own. Literally translated as the "Abode of the Gods", the Dieng plateau not only presents a remarkable collection of temples believed to have been built in the 8th century, but it is also set in a fascinating mountainous background and surrounded by the mystical culture of its people.

More information available at: http://dieng.id/

Photo source of header banner : www.ngetripmulu.com

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