dieng plateu

Dieng Culture Festival as a Culture Commodification for Tourism

Lately, this concern showed up fortune about traditional culture as impacts of tourism development as a government industrial. The impacts have been harm as a desecration, slowly destroying traditional art of culture, local wisdom or any religion’s activities.

The more dangerous it is shown from it civilization right now is commercialization for culture in tourism. Can’t be denied if tourism can be raised the level of economy civilians, but on the other side commercialization on the traditional art of culture will give the negative impact to its culture and local civilians.

Dieng Culture Festival

Dieng Culture Festival (DCF) is an event that the top of the event is ruwatan (hairdressing) for dreadlock’s kid. DCF is a concept from a group called Kelompok Sadar Wisata Dieng Pandawa which combined cultural concept with natural tourist rides, within the mission to empowerment Dieng’s civilians. It first had been in 2010 in cooperation with Equator Sinergi Indonesia, Pokdarwis Dieng Pandawa and Dieng Ecotourism. Before DCF, Pekan Budaya Dieng (Dieng Culture Weekend) already available which are held by Dieng Kulon’s civilians and teenagers. When it is going on the 3rd year Pekan Budaya, civilians are initiated to make a group called (Kelompok Sadar Wisata) and changed the event name to Dieng Culture Festival.

Pokdarwis Dieng Pandawa is a group or natural tourism community which controlled Dieng Kulon tourism village which has members all of the tourist actors, among others from Homestay, Craft, Tour Guides, Agrotourism, Culture and Art who is located in the region of Dieng. The purpose from Pokdarwis Dieng Pandawa in developing Dieng’s tourism is for archive the independent civilians and tourism conscious civilians. Besides DCF, Pokdarwis Dieng Pandawa also active in socialization for civilians about the importance of tourism which indifference perspective, one of them in terms of economy.
As first we showed up, that DCF has Ruwatan (hairdressing) as a top of the event. Ruwatan is a purification ceremony that has been a tradition in Java. This ceremony done to get rid of bad luck, disaster nor dangerous.

Meanwhile, the kids who have a dreadlock’s hair is a unique miracle. This miracle happened on a number of villages in Dieng Plateau, the kids who have a dreadlock hair is from 40 days old until 6 years old and its real dreadlock not by human deed. The dreadlock from the Dieng’s kids believed as an entrusted by supernatural unseen God and it’ll be cut if the kid demands anything. The request must be fulfilled, no less no more. Before the hairdressing/cutting, will be done prayer ritual in difference places, among others are Dwarawati Temple, Arjuna Temples, Sendang Maerokoco, Gatotkaca Temple, Balaikambang Lake, Bima Temple, Sikidang Crater, Cave in Warna Lake, Pepek River and Dieng Graveyards. Then the next day, do a parade to the haircut place. While walking around, these dreadlock kids escorted by the elders, public figures, group of traditional art and civilians.

Besides the hair cutting for dreadlock kids, DCF had many other side events, like Jazz Atas Awan that now also be a national event, and then Festival Film Dieng, Lampion Festival, Drink Purwaceng (traditional drink) Together, Camping in DCF, Sendra Tari (dance story) Dreadlock Hair, Green Walk, Reforestation and an Expo, etc.

During 4th-year DCF had been succeeded take attention from tourist, both domestic and international. Because DCF always gave the combination of traditional arts, indie music and contemporary become a very interesting packaging, moreover, DCF always has something new by the year. In accordance with the analysis potential of Dieng Tourist Area from Dinas Kebudayaan & Pariwisata ( official culture & tourism ) of the Central Java Island, by using oncoming 4A, one of that is Atraksi (Attraction) or tourist attraction which is the main factor in tourism activity, where the attraction is divided into 3;

1. Atraksi Alam (Nature Attraction)

2. Atraksi Budaya (Culture Atraction)

3. Atraksi Buatan (Artifical Attraction).

Dieng Tourist Area has a lot of uniques culture and it can be used for one of the tourist attractiveness. But this is not utilized properly, because lack of information/ publication about when the event will be held than tourist can’t be enjoying that cultural event. Furthermore, absence of accurate information about a story from the customs and historical items itself make none of the story making (mythical story or history) and a storytelling (process to telling a stories, myth or history) that can be used for another tourist activity when listening and the meaning from the customs and these historic relics. It stranger that DCF used as tools for communicating to the wide community to the culture and customs that Dieng has so that benefits of tourism is one of it is adding insight/knowledge into tourists as well.
Cultural Festival in Dieng Plateau expected can be the new magnet for tourism in Middle of Java in general, as well as Dieng, by introducing tourism potential and also cultural art possessed to tourism in our country also internationally. Still, DCF reliable as a new sector for increase civilians economy.

Commodication Culture for Tourism

Economy development activity has modified resource and changed structure and consumption pattern, include inside of tourism sector (Pitana and Diarta, 2009). Can’t be denied that the tourism industry is running it depends on an available resource. In tourism context, resource interpreted as anything with the potential for developing in tourism. The resource connected with tourism development as natural resources, cultural resources, special interest resources, and human resources.
Cultural tourism is one type of tourism developing on culture. The culture is an Indonesian cultural based on Pancasila. Cultural tourism as a development tourism wisdom in Indonesia has cultural important factors in an effort to attract tourists to come to Indonesia, among others are;

  1. To promoting tourism generally, both domestically and abroad.
  2. Cultural arts products will prepare jobs and increasing civilians income
  3. Not only Artistic and cultural appearance attract tourists but also increase cultural and artistic empowerment
  4. Artistic and cultural appearance can be increased maintenance and museum management, gallery and any others cultural monuments. Funds generated by cultural and art products can be improved civilians living standards.
  5. The other impact of cultural and arts can be improved dignity, honor, and understanding about humanity.
  6. Indonesian tourism development directed to (1) preservation of arts and culture (2) planting the love of the homeland and national identity (3) increase in foreign exchange (4) job creation and business opportunity, and (5) introduce Indonesian ceremonial in order to establish relations between nations.

Culture” contain understanding about anything results from the mind and human behavior, which is normatively shared by a social called “society” (Yoeti, 2006)
Cultural provides unlimited attraction in every aspect of life, but when culture meets tourism which makes culture as a product of tourism so will get into commodification, that is changing an ordinary thing into a commodity. Whether positive and negative impacts commodification can give.
In order for a culture to be sustainable, there is always its existence, the effort that need to be guaranteed for its continuity include: (1) Protection, including efforts to keep cultural products from being lost or damaged; (2) Development, including processing which results in quality improvement and / or expansion of treasures; (3) Utilization, includes efforts to use cultural results for various purposes, such as to emphasize the identity image of a nation, or education of cultural awareness, to be used as a cultural industry content, and to be a tourist attraction.

Positive Impact on Culture Festival

  • Increased Economic Level

Dieng Culture Festival proved to help increase the level of the people’s economy through tourism. DCF is not only intended at introducing tourism potential and cultural arts to the wider community as a tourists destination but also to improve the economy of the community which at that time began to weaken due to massive land exploitation by agriculture. It turned out that tourism appeared as support besides the Agriculture sector.

  • Cultural Preservation

Dieng Culture Festival is a form of preserving the culture of ruwatan (hairdressing for dreadlock’s kids). Ruwatan is mostly done in Central Java and Yogyakarta, but this Ruwatan for dreadlocks hair in Dieng has unique characteristics that are not shown in other regions. DCF reinforces the reason for the continued implementation of this Ruwatan ritual in Dieng.

  • Regional Tourism Promotion

Dieng plateau government has creatively provided for the ceremony of Ruwatan dreadlocks kid, a massive promotion was carried out to support the success of this event. With the uniqueness possessed by the dreadlocks cutting ceremony, as well as supporting events owned by DCF able to attract the attention of the public, both domestically and internationally to visit Dieng plateau and watch the Dieng Culture Festival. So, commodification that happened also helped bring up the name of Dieng in national tourism or international.


Culture is something that gives unlimited attraction in every aspect of life. But when culture meets tourism which makes culture as a product of tourism, it can’t be denied that commodification will occur, which transform culture into a commodity. In other hand, Dieng Culture Festival can bring up the name and economy of Dieng, in another hand, it is seen from the point of view of tradition and culture, such as losing the meaning and tradition.
Culture and tourism can indeed generate profits but must to be a stick in the meaning and sacredness. This tradition still continued because of denizen with local wisdom which belief in the meaning of the tradition. Public welfare and the local wisdom it’s better to be the main consideration all of the participant when will establish tourism policy. Because culture exists from a society, starting from the community and utilized for the community.