Officials of Samosir Island in North Sumatra are looking to promote the recently concluded Sigale-gale Carnival moving forward. Sigale-gale is a traditional wooden effigy featured in dances usually performed at funerals. Like a marionette, it is operated from behind using strings that run through a wooden platform at its base.
Samosir Tourism Agency head Ombang Siboro said the carnival would help shape the identity of Samosir, an island located in the center of Lake Toba. The carnival comprises a wide range of activities, from an ulos (traditional Batak cloth) parade to art performances depicting the story of Manggale.
According to legend, Mangale was a childless woman who on her deathbed instructed her husband to create sigale-gale. Hence, the first sigale-gale was created. The carnival was held in Pangururan, Samosir regency, as part of the Samosir Arts and Culture Festival earlier in June.
Ombang told The Jakarta Post on June 24 that the event emphasized the region’s cultural values, as opposed to focusing more on fashion, as demonstrated by, for instance, East Java’s Jember Fashion Carnival. He went on to say that his community aimed to further develop the carnival to become on par with the Jember Fashion Carnival and Semarang Night Festival.
Samosir Deputy Regent Juang Sinaga praised the successful Sigale-gale Carnival, while dedicating the event to those lost in the KM Sinar Bangun accident. “We are mourning, but tourism has to go on and Samosir must rise again,” said Juang.
Lake Toba Authority Board head Arie Prasetyo and Tourism Minister Arief Yahya also praised the event. “Lake Toba is Indonesia’s priority destination. Cultural attractions of significant value are needed to draw local and foreign travelers,” the minister said.