In addition to enjoying the beauty of nature, if you travel to West Sumatra, Indonesia there is one show that should not be overlooked. The show was very thrilling as well as uplifting. Since a few years ago, this show became famous and was an event that was always filled with spectators and photographers. Even for years, photos from this show almost always won photography competitions both nationally and internationally.
“Pacu Jawi” is the name of the show, in English it might mean “Cow Race”. It has been held since hundreds of years ago. It was originally a traditional community game program in Tanah Datar District, West Sumatra Province. This show only exists in 4 sub-districts, namely Pariangan, Rambat, Lima Kaum and Tarab River. The “Pacu Jawi” show in Tanah Datar District was held in turns in the 4 sub-districts and carried out in the community’s fields after the harvest period was over. The arena is not fixed at one location, but moves between sub-districts.
This show is an entertainment awaited by the local community. So it is considered a party with the term “Alek Nagari”. In this activity also combined with the tradition of the community in the form of procession carrying “dulang / jamba” which contains food and the best cows dressed with decorations such as “suntiang” and clothing. Usually this procession was held before the closing ceremony and became a big event in the area. At that time customary processions were held by traditional elders and various traditional arts and culture games.
The participant “Pacu Jawi” is a pair of cows that is controlled by a jockey boy who holds on to the plow stalk. Jockeys with no footwear run along with cows on plows in fields full of mud and water. This watery and muddy terrain makes Pacu Jawi attractive. The program runs from 1pm to 4pm every Saturday. Because the show is held serially every week for 4 or 5 times, then at the last performance the event starts at 10 am to 4 pm. When the race takes place sometimes there are also buying and selling cows between traders and owners. Usually cows that have often won races will rise in price. The winning cow will be the pride of the owner and targeted by many people.
Many people don’t know how to judge the best cow as the winner. Even this assessment is full of philosophy and good values. The best cows are cows that can run straight, not tilted and don’t go anywhere. It would be better if the cow can guide his partner to run straight. That means the cow is healthy and its body is firmly strong. Usually in one race you will see cows that run straight and those that don’t, some even enter other fields. So what is assessed is not only the speed and shape of the body. The winner is a cow with a good body shape that runs fast.
What if I want to watch this show? Tanah Datar Regency is located about 120 km from the City of Padang, the Capital of West Sumatra Province. You should stay in Batusangkar City which is the capital of Tanah Datar District and from there can rent a vehicle to the location of the show. The easy way to find hotels is using BOOKING.COM. Oh yeah, don’t forget to bring a hat if you watch Pacu Jawi. The weather will be very hot because it starts right at noon. You should also bring a change of clothes because it is not impossible that you will be splashed with mud. You can see other photos of “Pacu Jawi” at Facebook and Instagram