Around one thousand junior high, high school and university students in Bali participated in the Nyurat Lontar Massal Festival (writing on palm leaves festival) on Friday, as part of the 2019 Balinese Language Month in February.
Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Cultural Agency, told Antara news agency that the festival would feature a number of competitions, such as mesatua (Balinese storytelling) and nyurat aksara (writing Balinese script).
Nyurat lontar is the activity of writing Balinese script on palm leaves with a particular knife called a pengrupak. At the festival, participants donned Balinese traditional costumes while sitting in neat rows on the floor of the Ksirarnawa Building, Cultural Park, Denpasar, Bali.
According to Astawa, the activity was chosen as traditional Balinese literature was written on palm leaves and the agency wished to revitalize the art.
“There is an abundance of local wisdom to be gained from palm leaves. We wouldn’t want that to disappear, as well as making sure that the young generation is familiar with their culture’s legacy. We are building a new era of Bali in the face of globalization,” he said.
Balinese Language Month is in line with Gubernatorial Decree No. 80/2018 on the protection and use of the Balinese language, alphabet and literature.
The event will end with an art exhibition as well the competition finals at the provincial level, held from Feb. 24 to 28.