Monday, 13 August 2018 09:52

Pacu Kude, Aceh

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Welcoming the Independence Day of Indonesia, every region in Indonesia has its own tradition; take for example, the competition of dragon boat racing from Banjarmasin, the sampan (flat bottomed boat) sailing competition from Batam, and many others. The region of Aceh also possesses its distinctive way to celebrate the Independence Day of Indonesia, namely by carrying out a tradition called ‘Pacu Kude (Horse Racing). The Pacu Kude tradition comes from the region of Gayo. Located at 1,800 meters above the sea level, Takengon which serves as the capital of Central Aceh Regency has abundant natural and cultural potentials, particularly cultural attractions. One of them is the horse racing tradition or known as Pacu Kude which has become the icon and inherited tradition of the community in Gayo. This horse racing activity usually involves the communities from three regencies, namely Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, Gayo Lues. The Pacu Kude tradition also helps unite people in the highland of Gayu. Pacu Kude Gayo is one of the cultural traditions that has existed for a long time. The tradition began to be established specially in 1926 when the Dutch Colonial Government started their occupation and this tradition was presented to enliven the birthday of Dutch Queen, namely Queen Wilhelmina. Since then, the Dutch Government kept conducting the horse racing tradition as a part of the royal’s festivity. However, after the Independence Day of Indonesia in August the 17th, 1945, the horse tradition has become a commemorative event for the independence day of Indonesia as the reflection of joy from the people of Gayo towards the independence of Indonesia. Since that time, the horse racing attraction has become an inseparable activity from the Indonesian Independence Day. The event is conducted as the expression of happiness for Indonesia’s victory of achieving its freedom from the suppression of invaders. The horse racing tradition is then combined with other events such as the art of Didong Jalu, football, boat competition, and swimming competition in the fresh water lake. In attempt to welcome the 72th Independence Day of Indonesia last year, exactly on 21st to 27th of August 2017 at the Horse Racing Arena of H.M. Hasan Gayo Belang Bebangka Pegasing, Central Aceh, the horse racing competition with the theme entitled “Keep Racing, Preserve Culture, and Advance the Country” was held by the Aceh Culture and Tourism Department. About 400 participants from regions in the highland of Gayo took part in enlivening the horse racing competition.

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