It was slightly before two o'clock when I stepped on my feet in Negara, the capital of Jembrana regency, West Bali. The parade was scheduled at two. Hundred of people had flocked in the main street of the town eagerly waiting for the cultural parade.
I was a bit surprised to see that many people for a little town like this. But all this showed how excited the town people to watch this first parade after 2 years due to the pandemic.
The clock had struck two o'clock but there was no sign of the parade starting. The people began to move into the street to be able to see if the parade has come. The situation turned quite busy with people stepped into the middle of the street, but it was calm and orderly.
One and half an hour later finally the parade started. The first to appear was the local flag hoisting troop followed by a drum band from a local senior high school.
Next, there was a march of royal army followed by king and queen on a chariot which was supposed to be the ruler of this town in the past. (Not the real king, since this was a parade). Behind the king chariot was the symbol of this regency carried by a group of people in traditional uniform. Please check photo below.
The parade was not only showing the local Balinese culture. There were a couple of participants from Java, (the neighboring island). To be exact, the next group was from Banyuwangi of East Java.
Two girls holding a banner which said "The ambassador of Banyuwangi" and a girl with colorful dress walked in the middle followed four dancers.
Another girl with fancy dress superseded. I could see the influence of Chinese culture in the red beautiful dress she was wearing.
The princes and princesses of Jembrana walked gracefully following the Banyuwangi ambassadors. Every year, a competition of prince and princess was conducted. The winner were selected from contestants who participated from different districts in this regency.
The local police force also took part in this parade. Still in their police uniform, but with Balinese accessories such as sarong, and destar (head band), they marched, danced, and played gamelan or traditional music in this parade.
The next participant was from Kediri (also from neighboring island, Java) who came to present their "long whip art". Several men and women dressed in black and red traditional Java custom each holding a whip in their hand proceeded slowly as they performed an attraction that mesmerized all the people. They whipped into the air and that caused loud sound like a pistol bang. The loud sound made the people move to the side of the road.
The whip art group eventually passed. The next incoming were local institutions, for example, banks, mortgage, and fishing company. All 'wrapped' in Balinese culture theme.
A local art group was the next participant. They showcased the Balinese dress, music and drama.
Mean while, the black sky probably decided to tease us by bringing some rain. People scattered all over to find shelter. Oh, look at those rubbish we made on the street. (Which to my amazement was cleaned fast by the end of the parade, by a team of people assigned by local government).
About two minutes later, the rain stopped. People hurriedly swarmed the street once again to see what coming next. It was the another marching band from a local school who were all wet because of the rain. But it seem they did not care of being wet, as they performed impressively.
Finally, at the end it was the regent and vice regent of the regency who came riding horses. It's great that they had opportunities to greet their people. People called the regent and vice regent along the way. They were very happy to meet their leaders.
That concluded the parade. An announcement vaguely heard from a loudspeaker saying that the parade was over. People started to move away from the street. It was time for me to leave as well.
I just need to get out from this crowd, and I'll be free.
Needless to say, we had an immensely great time.