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Preserving the Culture of the Oang-oang Party

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Author: Dinda Marley

DAIRI – After dawn, I was with a friend in Medan to the bus station around Padang Bulan. I had not even have breakfast, thankfully I brought coffee in a small flask. Accompanied by cheese biscuits I purchased while waiting for the bus, we went off in the morning towards Sidikalang, Dairi Regency, North Sumatra.

Faintly, the sound of the Tanah Karo symphony accompanied the journey as he crossed Berastagi, Kabanjahe, Merek and Sumbul. Soon, a welcome gate would be seen in Sidikalang. There was a unique monument near the gate, unfortunately the paint has faded. We asked to be dropped off at the Baru Panji Sibura-bura Stadium, Sidikalang District.

Apparently, crowded people and groups filled the location already. Dressed in colorful kebaya and got hair in buns, the women look beautiful and glowing. Some of them wore traditional Pakpak clothing in pairs, almost completely in black. They upholded the crops from the fields and fields: durian, petai, rambutan, rice, red sugar cane, orange, pineapple, mangosteen and chicken.

Entering the stadium yard, parked vehicles were surrounded by a congratulatory flower board. At the entrance, we were welcomed by Veryanto Sitohang, a local youth leader who now serves as the National Commission (Komnas) for Women Community Participation in Jakarta. He wore a maroon batik shirt with ethnic motifs.

Bang Very, he was commonly called, immediately invited us in and took a seat. For the size of the district, this stadium in my opinion was quite good and had a large capacity. The stage is in the direction of the view colorful tents lined up like a courtier in the right and left side of the room. Underneath, sat the invited guests and members of the Pakpak Dairi Christian Church (GKPPD) throughout Indonesia. That day was the 25th Jubilee of GKPPD. Pakpak people celebrate it by calling the Oang-oang Party.

As many as 7,000 seats provided by the committee sold out, until they ordered another 1,000 seats, as well as with the food. At 10:00 WIB, the program began with worship. After only a few minutes, word broke out, worship at the St. Joseph Catholic Church on Jalan Dr. Mansyur Medan was canceled due to A suicide bomb carried by a young boy to the priest.

The Oang-oang Party Committee panicked that the news would frighten the congregation present. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. After the service, the program continued with the meeting, eating together, handing over souvenirs, reporting the symbadia by the Indonesian Bible Institute (LIA) and launching the addition of the GKPPD ende book.

At that time, the Dairi Regent, KRA Johnni Sitohang Adinegoro in his speech said that he was very pleased with the event that reminded everyone of the weight of the initial GKPPD struggle. He said, this is all thanks to God’s love and the strong unity of the church, so it must be celebrated.

“Today we must have fun celebrating, enjoying all the party in togetherness,” he said eagerly.

Bishop of GKPPD Rev. Elson Lingga hoped that members of his congregation wherever they were can enjoy this opportunity. He said To be happy because for 25 years God was still with them. In the future, may God always accompany the church’s journey that is still long.

Chairman of the Committee Depriwanto Sitohang said, the 25th Jubileum Oang- oang Party GKPPD means a joyful party, a party of excitement reaching a sufficient age. But not just a party that is identical to be a place of waste and useless. The ultimate goal is to glorify the name of God and must be a blessing to others.

Hence, the series of events has started since last May. It was everything from free medication, blood donation, mass cleanliness, a leisurely walk, choir festivals and song creation contests of Phakpak. The party was Enlivened by choirs and performances by Pakpak artists.

“We want to rejoice and share in many ways, how GKPPD donates its energy and thoughts to the region so that the name of God is glorified,” Sitohang said.

The sun was getting higher, this region which is famous for producing coffee was getting warmer. It was time for lunch, all participants who attended got free meals, and the committee cut one large buffalo to eat.

Veryanto added, this party was attended by nearly 10,000 GKPPD congregations throughout Indonesia, Dairi and North Sumatra figures. Various cultural and religious activities are displayed. Participants who attended were wearing Pakpak traditional clothing and other tribes so that the Oang-oang Party became a carnival of religious culture.

“Thank you to all supporters, the party was a success, everyone knows we have potential and there is much to be proud of. Let’s keep going together to be better and more productive,” Very said.

Before going home, we were invited to eat durian Sidikalang over coffee. One is valued at IDR 30,000. The contents are steady without rotting, just a little undercooked. I was looking for button durian (durian kancing), durian whose seeds are squashed as big as buttons and taste a bit bitter, turned out it’s hard to get.

Getting full eating durian, the coffee was immediately canceled. I asked for it to be delivered to Datra Station, back to Medan. So coffee was brought for souvenirs, plus a bunch of petai when made into shrimp sauce. Very invited us both to come back because there was a Njuah-Njuah party.

“This is also a great party. Come later, let’s know you Pakpak culture. Let us eat durian and have coffee again,” Very smiled.

Three years passed, I got word that the Oang-oang Party was still celebrated every year. In September 2019, quoted from the site pakpakbharatkab.go.id, Regional Secretary of Pakpak Bharat District, Sahat Banurea who opened the Oang-oang 2019 Cultural Festival at Napasengkut Field, Salak.

Sahat hopes that this party will build community enthusiasm. He invited all elements to participate and support various cultural events such as the Oang-oang Cultural Festival. In addition, the cultural value of the Pakpak region that competed in the national event was pelleng which was being contested in the Indonesian Enchantment Event (API) contest.

“Let’s support it so that our culture is known to the national level,” said Sahat.

As usual, the party was filled with various competitions including pakpak typical martial arts ‘Moccak Pakpak’ and cooking ‘pelleng’ which is a tribal food at the end of this North Sumatra region.

Community figure Jamida Banurea asked that in the following years, the community was involved in the committee.

“Surely many people would come … But we still have to thank the government for holding the Oang-oang Party because this is actually the people’s party,” he said.

The Regent of Pakpak Bharat at the time, Asren Nasution said, the party was able to motivate the public, especially artists, culture and arts organizations. This event is part of efforts to foster and preserve regional culture.

“Culture is very important in introducing national identity, especially ethnic identity so it would not to be eroded by globalization and modernization. Through this Oang-oang cultural party, I invite all levels of society to make culture a container for every life behavior, especially for the Pakpak tribe at any time and wherever they are, “said Asren.

In the 2019 Lake Toba Calender of Event launched by Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya and North Sumatra Deputy Governor Musa Rajekshah at the Sapta Pesona building on February 25, 2019, featured 17 events, one of it was the Oang-oang Cultural Festival.

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