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Magic and Culture: The Enchantment of Pacu Jalur Festival in Kuantan Singingi

kabargaruda.com - Pacu Jalur is a traditional rowing race unique to the Kuantan Singingi region, specifically the Taluk Kuantan area, which continues to exist and thrive in the province of Riau. This rowing competition employs boats crafted from intact logs of wood, without the use of nails or joints, locally referred to as "jalur" by the community.

For several decades, Pacu Jalur has been integrated into Riau's national tourism calendar, organized by the community of Kuantan Singingi District. The cultural event of Pacu Jalur, celebrated by the Kuansing community, is a vibrant affair. Hundreds of thousands of people gather in the stands and along the banks of Narosa, Telukkuantan, creating a lively atmosphere. Pacu Jalur is a festive occasion that captivates the populace. For tourists attending this event, it's an opportunity to witness the splendor of the festival, a creation of the Kuantan Singingi community.

According to the beliefs of the local people, Pacu Jalur represents the pinnacle of their year-long efforts, endeavors, and sweat expended to sustain their lives. In short, Pacu Jalur is eagerly anticipated by the community. The people of Kuantan Singingi and its surroundings eagerly partake in this much-awaited event.

Beyond being a sports event that captures the attention of the masses, the Pacu Jalur festival possesses its own mystical allure. The manifestation of the Pacu Jalur festival is a cultural and artistic creation that harmoniously combines elements of sports, art, and spiritual practice. However, the local community strongly believes that the outcome of the race is greatly influenced by the spiritual prowess of the boat's handler or "dukun perahu" (boat shaman). This magical conviction is evident throughout the event, from the wood selection process and boat crafting to the boat pulling and the commencement of the competition, all accompanied by magical rituals. Hence, Pacu Jalur stands as a showcase of spiritual strength among competing "dukun jalur" (boat shamans).

The logs used for the boats are deliberately sourced from the forests of the Kuantan Singingi region. Not just any wood can be used for these boats. The "tukang jalur" or boat-making experts venture into the forest to survey suitable logs, adhering to specific criteria, particularly the diameter and length of the wood. Once identified, the marked log undergoes a special ritual before being felled at a later time. This practice is rooted in respect and seeks permission from the wild forest to take a sizable log. This process reflects a valuable lesson – even our ancestors thoughtfully considered and respected the ecology of the forest when felling a single log.

Beyond being a sports event that commands the attention of the public, the Pacu Jalur festival holds its own magical allure. The Pacu Jalur festival, in its essence, is a product of unique cultural and artistic endeavors, harmoniously intertwining elements of sports, art, and spiritual practice. However, the surrounding community firmly believes that the spiritual strength of the "pawang perahu" or boat handler significantly influences the competition's outcome. This mystical belief is evident in every facet of the event – from the wood selection and boat crafting to the boat pulling and the commencement of the competition – all accompanied by magical rituals. Consequently, Pacu Jalur serves as a showdown of spiritual prowess among competing "dukun jalur." Besides the races, this folk festival also includes a diverse array of entertainment, such as Pekan Raya, Sanggar Tari performances, traditional song recitals, Randai Kuantan Singingi, and other traditional art showcases from various districts and cities in Riau.

WhatsApp Image 2023-08-19 at 20-07-57