A scene from Arung Palaka Festival © Gaura Mancacaritadipura

Tracing the Footsteps of Arung Palakka

Community members of the city of Bau Bau in SE Sulawesi welcomed their counterparts who had made the long journey from the Bone District in South Sulawesi to commemorate a similar journey made in 1660 by their ancestor, the hero Arung Palaka, to deepen ties of friendship and mutual respect existing between their communities for over 350 years.

On 27 December 2016, the Mayor of Bau Bau, Dr. H. As Thamrin MH, in the traditional robes befitting an aristocrat of the Sultanate of Buton, surrounded by officials and traditional community similarly attired, warmly welcomed the arrival in procession of Dr. H. Andi Fashar M. Padjalangi MM, Head of the Bone District of South Sulawesi along with his entourage also dressed in formal traditional attire. Both officials made heartfelt speeches in the traditional language of their ancestors, before warmly embracing, symbolizing the three and a half centuries of friendship and mutual respect that have endured between their two communities.

Arung Palakka La Tenri tatta (later Sultan of Bone, 1634-1696) journeyed from Bone to Buton in around 1660, where he begged shelter from the Sultanate of Buton at the Buton Fort on a hill overlooking Bau Bau harbour, said to be the largest fort in the world (area of 23 hectares). Arung Palakka and his associates served in Buton until 1663.

Other festivities included signing of a plaque, ceremonial descent to the cave where Arung Palaka formerly resided and did penance, prayed at the royal mosque, feasted on traditional cuisine, and performed song and traditional dances. The annual Arung Palaka Festival shows how customs and traditional festivals can promote ongoing friendship and mutual respect between peoples.


ICH Correspondent Gaura Mancacaritadpura(Chairman, Indonesian National Wayang Secretariat)

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