Jakarta: Happy 482nd birthday


The anniversary of the city’s founding, which falls on June 22, is considered by many a cause for celebration of all kinds. Expect dancing on the streets, concerts in your neighborhood and new items in your closet this month and the next.

Passer Baroe Festival

June 19-21 at Pasar Baru arcade, Central Jakarta.

Before there were malls, or even department stores, there was Passer Baroe or now Pasar Baru. One of the city’s oldest shopping arcades was, and is still, renowned for its multicultural ambience. The center, which consists of an entire street in Central Jakarta, is home to ethnic Chinese and Indian merchants, along with local businesses, all thrown together in a chaotic mix of sights and sounds.

The arcade, however, will be more colorful than ever this weekend, as it celebrates the Passer Baroe Festival, which includes a fashion show and concerts.

Betawi Festival

June 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Srengseng City Forest, West Jakarta.

In one of the city’s rare green spots, you can enjoy traditional Betawi songs, dances and culinary arts. The festival will include a fishing contest held in the protected park’s 7,000-square-meter lake, a race on stilts and even a contest to make dodol, a traditional Betawi confectionery.

Jalan Jaksa Festival

July 10-12 on Jl. Jaksa, Central Jakarta

Jl. Jaksa, an inevitable sanctuary for backpackers, with its budget-friendly pubs and restaurants, is also a street thick with Betawi culture. Thus it is only natural for the street to pay yearly homage to the latter in the form of the Jl. Jaksa Festival. Concerts, ondel-ondel (giant, colorful, Betawi effigies) and Tanjidor (an eclectic type of orchestra using Western musical instruments), as well as bazaars, will take over the street. Expect a lot of shoulder-bumping along with the fun.

Kite Festival

Aug. 9 at the National Monument (Monas).

Global warming has made the seasons as unpredictable as a day at the customs office. However, it is quite safe to say that in the middle of the year, you can go fly a kite, and not in a sarcastic way.

The Kite Festival calls on kite lovers the world over to flaunt their flair in kite-making and kite-flying. Participants can register at the Central Jakarta Tourism Office. Those who are not kite aficionados can sit back and watch as the Jakarta sky in the Monas area turns into a myriad of colorful movements. (JP/dis)

Other events

Jakarta Great Sale: This much-awaited event is usually held before the city’s birthday. However, this year the month-long shopping spree has been postponed to mid-July.
Jakarta Book Fair: June 27-July 5 at the Bung Karno Indoor Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta.