Legu Gam Festival of Ternate in North Maluku

31 Mar 2013 - 13 Apr 2013

From 31st March to 13th April 2013, the enchanting island of Ternate will sparkle with festivities as the Legu Gam Festival gets underway. Witness the Crazy Bamboo Dance and the record breaking Nasi Jaha cuisine.


Legu Gam is a festival celebrated by the people of Ternate, in the province of North Maluku, to celebrate the birthday of the  Sultan of Ternate. People from all over the island –and beyond- will gather at the Kedaton or the Palace of the Sultan of Ternate and participate in various traditional art and cultural performances.  Literally translated as the people’s fiesta, Legu Gam is a tradition of the people of North Maluku which illustrates the unity between the royal family and the common people. The symbol of the festival is obviously the Legu Dance, a royal dance which is traditionally performed only at official events in the presence of the Sultan.


As in previous years, the festival will present various features such as exhibitions, bazaars, cultural and traditional performances, seminars, Legu Gam Diving Expedition, a boat race, and swimming and fishing competitions. This year the festival will be participated by no less than 18 cities that will showcase their tourism and investments opportunities during the festival.


One of the highlights of the festival is the Fere Kie ritual which will be conducted on the summit of Mount Gamalama. The organizing committee stated that the ritual will still be conducted although Mount Gamalama is in an active state. The ritual will be forfeited when the volcano is declared in a higher danger state.


This year, the festival will also feature a special culinary presentation in the form of a 10KM-long Nasi Jaha. Nasi Jaha or Jaha Rice is a traditional cuisine typical of North Maluku which is always present at traditional ceremonies. Rice mixed with special aromatic spices is cooked in bamboo tubes over large open fires.  These will then be joined together to make it the longest Nasi Jaha ever. The 10KM-long Nasi Jaha is an attempt to create a new record for the Indonesia Museum of Records (MURI).


Another fascinating feature of the festival is the Festival Baramasuen 100 Bambu Gila, or the festival of the 100 crazy bamboo dancers. The Bambu Gila or the Crazy Bamboo dance is a an art form unique to the Moluccas,  where, despite being held by 7 persons, the  Bamboo pole moves and dances on its own accord as if by some supernatural power, forcing its bearers to follow its movements.  At its culmination, the Bamboo moves wildly and can only be tamed by a shaman possessing mystical powers.


Photo courtesy by legugam.com