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Allow me all of my friends who celebrate the upcoming annual Thanksgiving Day, November 26,2010 a very best wishes to all of you. May everyday become our days of thanks to God the Almighty, for the blessing God given to us and for having good family and friends.

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by: Neneng Tarigan

It was 25th June 2010, still sundown at 18.00 pm, I and Angie hurriedly driving through the traffics of the capital city in order to promptly arrived at the Haji Usmar Ismail Film Head Quarter, so that we would not be late for the REVIVE OF THE BATAK CULTURE program.

As a Karonese I am and  Tapanuli for Angie, we were both quite seldom to attend or even almost hardly been to any particular Batak's program like this one. However that night was so special for us to support the Maranatha Choir mission to Austria to compete in the World Choir competition together with the group of churches choirs from all over the world. Whatever the reason was, the effort of Maranatha group would have crafted a good name for Indonesia as a country and a nation that has been so pluralistic.

At 19.00 pm, we arrived at the Usmar Ismail Film Head Quarter. Not so many guests arrived yet; what it seen was the busy of the committee and the Batak Tapanuli's traditional percussion named Batara Guru performed beautiful musics and songs of ancient Batak. Hm... the Batara Guru name alone is quite similar with the name of a wise god in the Mahabharata epics. In the lobby of the building, Batara Guru play some of lovely Batak's songs with their traditional percussion, whereas just in front of them lies an exhibition of beautiful Batak woven clothes created by well known Batak designer Merdi Sihombing. Merdi used to live in Austria to deepen his study on textile; his Batak woven creation which used Swarowzky beads in most of his design has already have special costumers in Europe.

Beside of getting fund for the Maranatha Choir Group mission to Austria; Revive the Batak Culture program was also aimed at raising fund for building a school for children at Samosir Isle in Toba lake. A sincere idea of Merdi Sihombing.

Revive The Batak Culture program itself begun at 20.00 pm. Not many audiences present in the program, since almost all eyes of the people at that time were focused on South Africa where the world football match or the World Cup taken place. I my self is a great fan of the World Cup. Ever since the television exist, the World Cup event which is conducted every 4 years became my most awaited event ever. Nevertheless, that night I feel I was called to watch the Batak's Cultural Performance, beside of that my niece Lulu the daughter of my late cousin Maria Erbina Barus with late Singarimbun was also taken part as a committee of the program and she would join the Maranatha Group mission to Austria in July 2010. Few years ago, this group and Lulu were also went to Austria and won as the first winner of the world choir competition that time. What a prestige indeed.

That night the program was filled with Batak modernized dances, but wow... besides the beautiful dances, the dancers also wore the unique, lovely and attractive Merdi's hand woven colorful clothes creations. The MC was also funny, the songs were also exclusively special especially those songs sung by Ramona Purba with his traditional Batak Karo Band Endakustik, and most specially the songs sang by Victor Hutabarat and Tio Fanta Pinem.

That night I really was swayed and admired by the uniqueness, and the beauty as well as the friendliness of Batak Lima Puak/the Five Tribes of Batak (Tapanuli, Karo, Simalungun, Dairi and sorry if Dairi is not the same with Simalungun). I felt so convenient with the ambiance and the songs because they were so lively and melodious. What sad was, although I am the product of mix marriage of Ambonese + Mandailing from my mom's side and Karo from my father's side. These tribes are famous in producing the top Indonesian singers, however none in my family has the talent.

Beside of dancing and singing performance the program was also interlude with the fashion show of well known beautiful models of the capital. They performed the Merdi Sihombing's creations. Wow...although I am not rich, I was really eager to have just a master piece of this great young designer creations. He dreams to promote the traditional Batak's woven to international market. A solemnly idea indeed.

How lucky I was at the bid that night, because of the pro gesture of the young designer Merdi Sihombing and my favorite singer Victor Hutabarat, at last I was able to win a master piece of one of Merdi Sihombing's design. For me, that was the most expensive cloth I had ever bailed, although the historical value, the culture and uniqueness of the piece must have priced higher than what I paid. Thanks God I had the opportunity to have that Batak cultural creation.

The efforts and the results of the program was not really met with all of the efforts taken by the committee, the sponsors, the models, the designer, the singers and all of the artists who were present that night. Just if I am rich, I was able to help ..................
Nevertheless, it was such a wonderful night that I will treasure in my life together with my kid/niece Angie.


By: Neneng Tarigan.

Do you have any idea, how great Indonesia is with its thousands Cultures and traditional customs? Well, here is an example of a Traditional Wedding Party in Batak Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Actually, the wedding ceremony itself take place approximately 8 hours at least, depends on the well being or social status of a family. For the rich, it may sometimes takes 3 to 7 days, including the church ceremony and the family gathering, but in modern days even the rich hold it only for 8 hours the most.

The following video clip was taken during the wedding ceremony of my niece at the end of 2009 in Jakarta. This part is showing how parents, uncles and relatives from the two sides proceed the weds to their wedding chair or the throne.

I do not know much about the Batak Karo tradition although my late father is a Karonese himself, because I am a product of mix blood of Karonese, Molucans and Mandailing. Anyhow, if you are lucky enough to get an invitation from any traditional Indonesian wedding party, please do not hesitate to go, you will be entertained by a remarkable traditions of thousands of variety of Indonesian cultures.

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