Singkawang, West Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Cap Go Meh Festival has been considered as one of intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Chief of Presidential Staff Office Moeldoko noted while opening the festival in Singkawang City, West Kalimantan.

"I am very intrigued by the symbols etched in Singkawang City," he said in a speech he delivered in the opening ceremony of the festival on Sunday.

He also lauded State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir who took his time to come to the event.

"State-Owned Enterprises Minister is very busy. But because of his love for Singkawang, he (makes time to) attend," he informed.

Moreover, he also expressed his delight because he could celebrate the Cap Go Meh Festival in that city.

He compelled all the guests who were at the event to shout the slogan, 'may Singkawang be great'.

Moeldoko affirmed that the Cap Go Meh Festival had been listed as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Such stipulation served as commendation from global community to Indonesia.

He recounted his time back when he was commander at Tanjungpura Regional Military Command in West Kalimantan, during which there was an argument revolving dragon statue in Singkawang.

"I said: 'hey, you all. Before you were born, Singkawang had already been like this. Don't mess around,' " Moeldoko said.

He recalled that he had said that he would be the first one to protect the statue if anything bad happen to it.

On the occasion, he encouraged everyone to join efforts to develop Singkawang City for the better in the future, so as to be like other countries which succeeded in developing their tourism sector.

In the festival, several thousands of people —including local residents and guests— would witness the festival proceedings, which showcased nine dragons attraction performed by Saint Yosef Singkawang City group, line of 13 jailangkung (vegetable baskets filled with spirits), hundreds of tatung or shamans possessed by ancestral spirits, as well as drums and altar poles carried by several people.

Hundreds of people kept up with the procession, which stopped by the main podium to greet the guests who took seat beneath a tent adorned in red and white.

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Translator: Nurul Hayat, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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