Bengkulu Culture

Bengkulu had a unique story compared to other areas in Indonesia...


Bengkulu Culture

Seen from its history, Bengkulu had a unique story compared to other areas in Indonesia. At the beginning, Bengkulu was ruled by British colonist who wanted to monopolized pepper trading here but often plagued by malaria. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who build Singapore, visited in 1818 and was able to develop a successful pepper trading. Not only pepper; candlenut, coffee and also sugar cane plantations were successfully developed.  Raffles also found Bengkulu special plant, a carrion flower, which later named after its founder, Rafflesia Arnoldi. After 140 years, England then handed over Bengkulu to the Netherlands, according to Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824. As the exchange, England got Malacca. The most famous England heritage in Bengkulu was Marlborough fort, which was built in the beginning of 18 century.

Tabot Festival

This festival is held every year at the start of the Islamic month of Muharam, usually from 1-10 Muharram in the Islamic calendar. Based on the regular calendar this means that this event moves forward about ten days every year. The festival itself is held to remember the tragedy that struck Hasan Husein.

The essence of the Tabot ritual is remembrance of the Shi'is' struggle to gather Hasan and Hussin mortal remains from the battlefield, carry them in procession, and bury them on the Plain of Karbala, this two centuries old ritual was made by artisans from Madras in India for the construction of Fort Marlborough.

In Tabot festival, they are presenting the Dol, an attraction comprising lively massive drumming traditional instruments. Teams of dozens of drummers compete in various drumming styles; it's quite reminiscent of Japanese Taiko drumming. Tight synchronization, skill and teamwork produce stunning results. The festival ends with the final procession, Tabot Tebuang. The Tabot are displayed together one last time, and then ritually thrown into a series of sacred places.



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