Friday, February 5, 2010

Manokwari Street Parade Commemorating Gospel Landing Day

This week Manokwari town is busy. There are a lot of religious activities held by Christians community in this town, from boat racing to choir competition, and from art exhibition to street carnival.
Street parade has been an annual agenda for GKI di tanah Papua (the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua Land). It has just been held on 3 and 4 February before the celebration of the Gospel Landing Day on 5 February. Today is the 4 fourth of February and I just returned from Jalan Merdeka to watch the Karnaval Budaya (meaning Cultural Carnival). This carnival was held along the main streets of the town from Sanggeng to GKI Church of Elim in Kwawi area.
During the parade, the participants sang Gospel and traditional songs, performed dances, and wore traditional costumes. Tens of thousands of Christians have come from various towns and villages in Papua and other provinces in Indonesia to Manokwari to participate in this parade creating several kilometers of traffic congestion along the main streets.
Set in the Dorey bay under the Arfak mountain facing the Manokwari town, Mansinam island became the first place where two German missionaries settled to preach Christianity to Papuan people. Otto and Geisler landed on Mansinam island to preach Christianity to, what Alfred Russel Wallace in his book entitled the Malay Archipelago called, "the savage people" 155 years ago  Now majority of the Papuan population are Christians.
Besides being famous for religious tourism, its beautiful scenery and underwater shipwrecks continue to attract foreign tourists from around the world. Just tens of meters away off the Cross monument of the island, lies the Pillbox shipwreck which has usually become the starting point for divers. Another bigger shipwreck, the Shinwa Maru - a Japanese ship and coral reef can be explored at the south east off the island.by Charles Roring