19th Annual Indonesia Day Set for Sept. 15 in SF

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San Francisco, CA – In cooperation with the City and County of San Francisco, the Indonesian American Community in Northern California and the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in San Francisco, invite you to join the 19th Annual Indonesia Day, the annual celebration of Indonesia’s independence and culture on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at Union Square.

This year, the Indonesia Day Committee has decided to showcase “The Bamboo of the Archipelago” by featuring native dances, music, art, and cuisine that incorporates this essential plant to display its importance within the Indonesian culture. The Indonesia Day Committee is also proud to announce the partnership with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, the renowned Balinese performance arts group from Berkeley, to be the event’s Fiscal Sponsor. Aside from assisting the committee in the monetary affairs, the group, with 30 years of experience under their belt in the Bay Area, will be presenting music pieces on the Jegog. The Jegog is an all bamboo gamelan orchestra that is very rarely found outside of Indonesia; therefore, having the pleasure to witness such an ensemble playing is an absolute privilege. As a San Francisco tradition, this annual event is one that cannot be missed by a local or visitor.

San Francisco is a stimulating intersection of peoples from all over the world. Indonesia’s national motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Diversity” literally, “many, yet one”), articulates the diversity that shapes the country and could be applied to San Francisco as well.   In last year’s Indonesia Day Greetings, Mayor Ed Lee noted that “our history as a city of immigrants is part of what makes San Francisco strong.” Despite being a relatively young and small community, dating back only several decades, Indonesians living in the city have a dynamic part in shaping the city’s character and growth. From small business owners to college professors and from artists to computer programmers, Indonesians, young and old, contribute greatly to the San Francisco community. Indonesians understand what it takes to live in a community with many ethnic groups.  Indonesians living in this similarly diverse city are proud to also call themselves San Franciscans.

Part of being a proud San Franciscan is the opportunity to celebrate one’s roots of origin. Because this city is so diverse with a multitude of cultures, there are celebrations or events of culture awareness happening all the time. Indonesians residing in San Francisco have their own celebration as well. On August 17 of every year, Indonesians celebrate their independence either by attending a flag ceremony and formal feast at the Consul General’s residence or simply observe it in the privacy of their home. The real celebration, however, usually occurs after the Independence Day with an exclusive event celebrating Indonesian culture. Then, 18 years ago, the Indonesian Consulate General decided to partner up with the Indonesian community in cooperation with the City and County of San Francisco to create an event to promote and celebrate Indonesian culture and heritage that allowed the whole San Francisco community to partake in. Today, this wonderful festivity of art, dance, music, and food from the islands of Indonesia has become a city tradition.

Indonesia Day is a fun-filled day of events for the family. There are dance and musical performances by members of the Bay Area community who help practice such art forms in order to preserve them, a parade of traditional Indonesian clothing to showcase the artistry and beauty that are adorned by the Indonesian people, and food vendors operated by the various Indonesian restaurants located all over the Bay Area who are responsible for serving up the world-renown spicy and flavorful dishes for which Indonesia has become famous. Last but not least, an Indonesia Day celebration is not complete without a musical guest from the “Tanah Air” or “motherland.”

This year, the committee decided to go with “Bamboo of the Archipelago” because they wanted to showcase an aspect of Indonesian culture that is rarely highlighted. Bamboo is so essential to the Indonesian people that it can be found in every facet of life from food containers to housing materials and from body accessories to a food dish. Bamboo is essential to the sustainability of the greater community. The Indonesian Day Committee hopes that this year will not only be a celebration of Indonesian culture but also a jubilee of intertwining culture held together by a sense of community like the bamboo weavings of a basket.


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