The 4th Dieng Culture Festival 2013

29 Jun 2013 - 30 Jun 2013

The beautiful highlands of the Dieng Plateau in Central Java will be animated with festivity from 29th to 30th June 2012 when the 4th Dieng Cultural Festival 2013 gets underway. Held annually as a community celebration, the festival presents various art and cultural performances, Dieng's finest products exhibition, and to top it all is the unique dreadlock kids ritual ceremonies (or Ruwatan anak gembel/gimbal).

This year, the first day of the festival will feature the highly nutritious herbal Purwaceng ceremonial toast, the release of traditional balloons, a Leather puppets show, traditional art and cultural performances, and a fireworks fiesta. The pinnacle of the festival, the ritual of trimming off the kid's dreadlocks will take place on the 2nd day. Adding the sparkle to the festival there will be a Dieng Film Festival and Jazz performance entitled Jazz above the clouds.

As main feature of the festival, the ceremony of shaving off the hair of the dreadlock kids is truly exceptional. While globally dreadlock hair is commonly known as Rastafarian style from Jamaica, in the highlands of Dieng, dreadlock, or matted hair is not a chosen style but rather a mystical feature that only occurs in children.

Dieng's dreadlocks children are born normal, however at one point, their hair amazingly turns dreadlock by itself. Various studies to scientifically investigate the cause have not turned up any logical explanations. According to local belief, these kids are somehow chosen by their ancestors to accept these gifts, and that the dreadlock must not be trimmed until the children ask for it, or else the hair will continue to grow back. The precious moments when these dreadlock kids are shaven off are celebrated in a series of ritual ceremonies known as the Ruwatan Anak Gimbal.

The ceremony will commence with the procession of the dreadlock kids around the village. The kids will be paraded on a Javanese traditional horse drawn carriage or Dokar guarded by Manggala Yudha or royal troops and followed by various traditional art processions. The special kids will then be taken to the Arjuna Temple in the Dieng Temple complex where the ritual of the dreadlock hair cutting will take place. Subsequently, the hair will be taken to the lake and submerged as symbol of returning the hair to the ancestors.

Located about three hours drive away from Yogyakarta or two hours from Semarang, the Dieng highlands are truly a marvel of their own. Literally translated as "abode of the Gods", the plateau does not only present a remarkable collection of temples set in the fascinating mountainous background, but also a mystifying culture of its people. All of these magnificent features will blend perfectly together at the Dieng Culture Festival 2013.

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