British Columbia is home to more than 6,000 people of Indonesian descent.
The local community may not be as big as other ethnic groups, but it boasts of a culture as diverse as their native country is vast.
Indonesia is the world’ s biggest archipelago nation, straddling the equator between the Pacific and Indian oceans. It also shares land borders with Malaysia, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea.
People from Indonesia are eager to share their culture, and one event this weekend will provide an opportunity for others to learn about this heritage.
Indonesia Fest 2019 will be held on Saturday (September 21), from 12 noon to 4 p.m., at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby).
The festival is organized by the local organization Permai B.C., and the consulate general of Indonesia in Vancouver.
Permai B.C. president Matthew Riyanto said that the festival aims to introduce Indonesia as a whole to the wider community.
Riyanto noted that a lot of people are more familiar with Bali than the country of Indonesia itself.
Bali is a tourism mecca that is widely known for its beaches and other natural attractions.
As Riyanto put it, it’s the Hawaii of Indonesia.
“We want to showcase that there’s more out there than just Bali,” Riyanto told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Wednesday (September 18).
For those who want to visit Bali, the festival is offering a raffle for a free round-trip ticket to the world famous location.
The festival will also feature crafts like how to make batik. It’s an Indonesian art form of fabric design using dye and wax.
The designer uses wax to cover portions of the fabric, leaving spots for the dye to create colourful patterns.
Riyanto said the batik workshops are open for everyone, including children.
“Last year, there were a few children who tried it and they had fun,” Riyanto said.
No festival is complete without food, and this year’s Indonesia Fest, like its past iterations, promises to delight visitors.
Offerings include chicken satay or skewers with peanut sauce, and beef rendang, a meat stew that uses coconut milk.
Festivalgoers can also try a Balinese rice set, which Riyanto said is similar to a food platter.
“There’s going to be rice in the middle and other side dishes,” Riyanto explained.
Coffee lovers will also have something. A booth will be serving Indonesian coffee, which Riyanto said is rare here in the Vancouver area because of distance and price.
“Indonesian coffee is actually one of the highly rated beans in the world, like Top 10, Top 5, I believe even,” Riyanto said. “But it’s just hard to get because it’s so far and it’s expensive. But through this festival, you’ll get to try it.”
In addition to traditional dances and musical performances, Indonesian games are also lined up.
One is bakiak, a race that gets rival teams to line up, step into long boards that function as slipper, and move in step toward the finish line.
Indonesia Fest 2019 is a free event at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby) on Saturday (September 21), from 12 noon to 4 p.m.