Part I

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Friday, 22 September 2017

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Honoring their ancestors and preserving age old tradition, the Chinese ethnic group at Bagansiapi-api will this year, without fail, again stage the Bakar Tongkang Festival on 10th to 11thJune 2017 to be held in Bagansiapi-api, capital of Rokan Hilir Regency, in the Riau province.

Literally meaning "Burning the (last) Ship", Bakar Tongkang is an annual tradition commemorating the fateful decision of the first Chinese migrants who left their homeland by ship and settled in Riau on the island of Sumatra. The historic decision was marked by torching the (last) Ship on which they sailed in, which is now annually celebrated by torching a replica of the traditional Chinese ship at the pinnacle of the festival.

The festival is also known as Go Gek Cap Lak in the Hokkien language, derived from the words Go meaning 5th and Cap Lak meaning 16th, so that the ritual is, therefore, celebrated annually on the 16th day of the 5th month according to the Chinese calendar.

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