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The annual event was first held in 2004, with the aim to preserve the Javanese tradition. This year, the main theme of the event is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

Members of Paguyuban Wargo Jowo, also known as Punggowo, arrived in Dataran Engku Putri, Batam Center, Aug. 27 for a gathering event of the Javanese community in Riau Islands. They attended the event in traditional Javanese outfit with blangkoniket, beskap and keris.

Borobudur temple is one of the historical monument born from the richness of Javanese culture. The only old Javanese manuscript that hints the monument called Budur as a holy Buddhist sanctuary is Nagarakretagama, written by Mpu Prapanca, a Buddhist scholar of Majapahit court, in 1365.

The opening of the Javanese community gathering was marked with a Melayu welcoming dance and presenting of betel leaves to tourism ministry secretary Ukus Kuswara and Riau Islands governor Nurdin Basirun. The event was a gathering of those who had spent their childhood in Central Java, East Java and Yogyakarta.

There are 89,000 ethnic Javanese in Singapore, according to 2010 census records, making them the largest Malay sub-group here. According to 1825 census reports, there were only 38 Javanese residing in Singapore. But by 1891, the number had climbed to 8,541, with many first moving to Kampung Java. They assimilated quickly, picking up the more commonly spoken languages of Malay and English.

On this occasion, several Javanese Singaporean also join in as an observer. Based on 2010 census in Batam city island, about 27% of Batam population is of Javanese descent. The Javanese cultural gathering events also an effort to bolster the local attraction in Batam. It is unfortunate that the overall events is lack of promotion and program itself is not well packaged.

Punggowo itself is a social platform for more than 100 Javanese communities and Pujakesuma (Sumatran-born Javanese Sons) in Batam and Riau Islands. The platform broke two MURI records for the largest number of participants for a halal-bihalal event with 140,000 attendees and the highest number of art performances in an event.

The gathering event entertained guests with performances from 68 local art groups and a culinary bazaar. Also featured was a Fashion Carnival themed Archipelago Carnival, Artwear Carnival and Herowear Carnival. Other performances include Gambyong dance, Topeng Ireng, Barong, Gedrug Buto dance and Reog Ponorogo.

Last year, Punggowo managed to attract 137,000 people and had performances from 132 groups that ended up breaking a MURI record. This year, the target was to attract 150,000 visitors including Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) from Singapore and Malaysia.



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