Indonesian Festival in Teheran

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The interconnecting paths between the two nations has dated back long before the sovereignty of Indonesia. Srivijaya Empire, ruling the region of Indonesia and other South East Asian nations and beyond in the 7th century A.D. had known such link with Iran, known as Persia or Po-sse in a Chinese literature dated in 671 century. Malacca strait had been the commercial and maritime corridor for Persian and Chinese traders, leaving endless influences upon the many cultures in Sumatra, Java, even in the Mollucas isles. The two empires had been acknowledged to have mutual collaboration and understanding toward each other by presenting offerings and exchanging correspondence.

Archeological evidences found in Barus, Muara Jambi, Muara Sabak, and Lambur Archeological Sites in forms of cups, vase, bottles, basins, and Persian tombs indicate the presence of Persian societies living in the area. Samudera Pasai, the first Islamic Kingdom in Indonesia and South East Asia, is other evidence that Islam had come to Indonesia in the 13th century A.D. Two Persians known as Qadi Sharif Amir Sayyid from Shiraj and Taj Ad-Din from Isfahan, were mentioned to have served the King of Pasai.

Other evidence of Persian influence in Indonesia can be found in Sumatra (Aceh, Bengkulu, Pariaman) where Tabot commemoration, Islamic Shiahs tale, is practiced. The commemoration is aimed to celebrate Prophet Mohammads grandchildren, Hasan and Husein. Celebration of Asyura or Suro in Java and Makassar is also living evidence. Arbain in West Java attracted hundreds of Shiah Moslems from around the world. Debus in Banten, Aceh, Kedah, Perak, Cirebon, and Mollucas, came from old Persian influence.

On July 22-27, 2006, these closely related cultures between Indonesia and Iran will be rejuvenated by staging an event called Indonesian Festival in Teheran, Iran. The government of Indonesia will designate delegations spearheaded by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of RI, Dr. Sapta Nirwandar. He will accompany Indonesian officials, representatives from Sumatran dance society, spa business players, fashion designers, Indonesian chefs, and other tourism related associations.

Several journalists and television crews are also among the delegations. Senior Officer Meeting on Culture and Tourism will be held prior to the festival. A business meeting and a cultural exhibition will follow the festival until July 27th, 2006.

This event is aimed to amplify bilateral relationship between the two nations, especially in cultural and tourism sectors, strengthen the long-established friendship, and to promote Indonesia in Iran that would improve tourism sector for both parties.

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