THE FESTIVITY OF CAP GO MEH PARADE IN PEKALONGAN
There is another festive celebration eagerly awaited by almost all Pekalongan citizens after the Lunar New Year: Cap Go Meh. Yes, Cap Go Meh is celebrated as the 15th day and the last day of a series of Chinese New Year celebrations, celebrated by the Peranakan people in Pekalongan.
The festivity and excitement of the Cap Go Meh celebration in Pekalongan usually attract the public and tourist’s enthusiasm in the hubbub. In contrast to the Cieswak rituals during the Lunar New Year–that is concentrated inside the pagoda–the celebration of Cap Go Meh spilled into the streets of Pekalongan, in a hectic and colorful cultural carnival.
On the day of Cap Go Meh, the parade will be centered in front of the Po An Thian Temple. Lions (barongsai) and dragons that will enliven the event are blessed one by one while doing some attractions in front of the temple. Only after all the blessings are obtained the parade begins.
The composition of the procession includes the dragon, lion (barongsai), the carrier of amulets, and the music troupe from Tirto Meduri “MCBN”, followed by the stretcher of the Gods and Goddesses. The Gods and Goddesses that will be paraded in the celebration vary annually.
For 2019, it consists of Y.M. Sin Long Tay Tee (the God of Medicine & Agriculture), Y.M. Tek Hay Cin Jin (the God of Commerce), Y.M. Kwan Seng Tee Koen (the God of Honesty & Loyalty), Y.M. Lie Lo Cia (the Protector God of Children), Y.M. Hok Siang Tee (the Emperor of North Sky & Black Magic Exterminator), Y.M. Thian Siang Seng Boo (the Protector Goddess of the Fishermen), and Y.M. Kwan Se Im Po Sat (Kwan Im Goddess / the Goddess of Compassion).
The Cap Go Meh parade troupe will usually start their march from Po An Thian Temple on Jalan Belimbing before moving towards Jalan Bandung, Jalan Diponegoro, Jalan Pemuda, Jalan Hayam Wuruk, Jalan Hasanuddin, Jalan Sultan Agung, dan Jalan Salak; before returning to the temple.
The Cap Go Meh’s celebration with its parade will definitely paint various corners of Chinatown in Pekalongan with red. Happiness is shared equally. Those who celebrate Imlek rejoice, while the people of Pekalongan get entertained. Everyone is happy in celebrating diversity.
At the end of the 3-kilometer Cap Go Meh march, a communal feast will be held at Po An Thian Temple. Because isn’t one of the features of celebrations is ‘shared happiness’: through communal eating?