Surabaya possesses a similar culture to the Central Java region, which explains why these two regions speak the same language only with a different accent. Aside from language, the culture and festivals in Surabaya have great similarities to the ones of the Central Java region, many of which have a deep emphasis on art and the performing arts.
A great range of East Java performing arts can be sampled in Surabaya. One of these is the Reog, which is an old and unique performance of the Java region. Here, the performer rides a flat bamboo horse and is whipped into a trance state while odd-looking characters look on. It may seem like a weird performance when described this way but it is a surreal experience that can only be appreciated when seen in the flesh.
The festival of Surabaya also revolves heavily around the performing arts, the most prominent of which is the Surabaya Culture Parade yearly held in late April. The Surabaya Culture Parade celebrates the city’s anniversary; at the time of writing, the city is already surprisingly over 710 years old. Aside from commemorating the age of the city, it is also a celebration of the city’s rich cultural heritage in terms of history and customs. This popular event is marked by performing arts and colorful processions with the grand parade starting at the famous Tugu Pahlawan Monument. Expect marching bands, dancing troops and art exhibitions all throughout the city as the entire town comes together to take part in the grand parade. Because the Surabaya Cultural Parade has put the East Java capital on the map, the festival starts on the precise anniversary of the city on May 31st and goes well into the month of June. Visitors can then experience the joyful sprit of the region along with the hot weather in the city making it the perfect time to visit Surabaya.
The Yosakai Dance Festival on the other hand is an event that originated from Kochi, Japan, which is a sister city of the town Surabaya. This festival is actually a form of cooperation between the two sister cities, making it a routine agenda. Another festival is the Surabaya Cross Culture Festival where many traditional cultures aside from Indonesia such as South Korea and China are given the stage. This exciting event provides a peek into various cultures and produces unforgettable experiences so make sure to check it out when in Surabaya during early July.
The different national holidays and festivals of Indonesia add further interest to the city such as the Indonesian Independence Day on August 17 and the Birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad on the 9th of March. Another popular event is the Kite Festival or the Layang Layang, the different food festivals and the many fishing boat celebrations.
Through the many art exhibitions and performing arts of the East Java capital, the culture and festivals in Surabaya certainly provide its most unique catch. Tourists should then join in on any of the festivals in Surabaya to be able to witness the proud spirit of the people as it is displayed in the city they dearly love.