Three regencies in the West Kalimantan Province, namely: Singkawang, Bengkayang, and Sambas are collaborating to present the Singbebas Week (an acronym of the three provinces), scheduled to take place in March 2015, The event will feature some of the best cultural attractions of the three regencies following right after the enthralling Cap Go Meh celebration in Singkawang.
Head of the Tourism Office of Singkawang Regency, Made Putra explained that preparations are already underway since the Singbebas Week will be staged within 2 months. “We are at the stage where we promote each region through brochures, printed media, electronic media, and more, so that the event will reach national and international markets” stated Made Putra.
The Singbebas Week will commence with the Cap Go Meh celebration in Singkawang on 5 March. Dubbed as the city of a thousand Chinese temples, Singkawang has a distinct oriental atmosphere with hundreds of Chinese temples found around almost every corner of town and its unique cultural attractions.
Cap Go Meh celebration in Singkawang is regarded as the biggest and grandest among cities in all of Southeast Asia, since the peak of celebrations is highlighted with a parade of the ancient art of Tatung. Intended to repel misfortunes for the rest of the year, Tatung is the principle medium of the Cap Go Meh ritual to reject evil spirits. During the Tatung rituals, participants enter into a trance and perform many incredible stunts, such as stepping on a sword, or sticking steel wires or nails into their cheeks. It is quite unbelievable to see that despite such torture, the Tatungs are not wounded nor even scarred.
After Singkawang, visitors to the event will be taken to explore the natural splendors of neighboring Bengkayang Regency including the Lemukutan Island, Baro Wayerfall, Merasap Waterfall, Riam Rayo River, and Taipi Lake.
From Bengkayang, the journey will continue to Sambas, a regency dubbed as West Kalimantan’s courtyard of Mecca. Here participants will be taken to Alwatzkoebillah Palace, a 200 years old palace built during the reign of Raden Sulaiman who took the title of Sultan Muhammad Syafi’uddin I.
The three regencies collaborate in the festival since they are relatively close to each others. Tourists can explore all three regencies within a week. Ever since 2012, development of these three regencies have synergized to better boost their repective economy.