Chinese New Year in the West Kalimantan town of Singkawang is marked by a parade featuring hundreds of possessed spirit-mediums performing self-mortification and blood sacrifice. The event is a huge tourist draw, but beyond the spectacle, deeper meanings are enacted. The spirit-medium procession stages a fraternity of Dayak, Malay and Chinese earth gods united in the purpose of exorcising demons from the neighborhood. The self-conscious presentation of the Chinese as brethren among pribumi [sons-of-the-soil] Dayak and Malay, proposes the Chinese as belonging to the ‘peoplehood’ of West Kalimantan.
Chinese, Indonesia, spirit mediums, religious processions
Asian Studies | Religion
Chinese Indonesians Reassessed: History, Religion and Belonging
Sai, Siew-Min; Hoon, Chang-Yau
City or Country
Chan, Margaret. 2013. "The Spirit-mediums of Singkawang: Performing ‘Peoplehood' of West Kalimantan." In Chinese Indonesians Reassessed: History, Religion and Belonging, edited by Sai Siew-Min and Hoon Chang-Yau, 138-158. New York: Routledge.