Cap Go Meh Lantern Festival in Indonesia

[Group post by Donald Saluling, with Iqbal Amirdha, Kiki Priyosejati and Ersta Andantino] Cap Go Meh literally means the 15th evening (after the Chinese New Year), celebrated by Chinese people all over the world with various kinds of festivities. In Bogor, West Java, it’s celebrated in the form of a people parade by all communities from neighboring cities and regions, religions and ethnicities, not just Chinese communities. I took off from Jakarta on a rainy morning with a hope to catch this annual festival from the start of the temple ritual for the gods and goddesses up until the actual parade.

We arrived before noon and Bogor was packed, rainy and already busy. My daughter and I tried to get inside Vihara Dhanagun (also called Hok Tek Bio temple) where the main activity took place every year and it was almost impossible to get in. The smell of incense was everywhere. Organizers, photographers, and spectators were packing the temple’s hall and yard. There was hardly any place to stand and sketch. The sketch above was made outside of Dhanagun Temple, standing beside a sea of people anticipating the parade from inside this temple. And the one below is from inside the hall.

This and above sketch by Donald Saluling

I had intended to meet my fellow sketchers from Bogor–Iqbal Amirdha, Kiki Priyosejati and Ersta Andantino, who had already settled inside the temple for good sketching spots but it was too packed and hectic to make it to their spots.

Here are their sketches from inside the temple.

Sketch by Kiki Priyosejati



Sketch by Iqbal Amirdha


Sketch by Iqbal Amirdha capturing the colors and energy inside the temple

By afternoon, it seemed the parade would be delayed until evening. So I decided to head home before getting trapped inside the heavy traffic jam in Bogor city that day. We walked back to where we parked and safely drove back to Jakarta. Perhaps next year I will come back again and sketch some more. Special thanks to my Bogor Sketchers friends who stood by waiting for me although we didn’t meet in person. I just admire their spirit to capture the scene through their sketches!

Donald Saluling is an urban sketcher from Jakarta, Indonesia. He has been an active participant of the first Urban Sketchers group in Indonesia since 2010. You can see his sketches here.

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