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National Puppet Day 2023: Indonesia’s wayang tradition takes center stage

The Indonesian Puppetry Association (PEPADI) is set to celebrate National Puppet Day 2023 with a captivating series of Wayang events, uniting tradition and modernity.

This vibrant cultural extravaganza unfolds in Jakarta from November 1st to 7th, featuring the Children’s Puppeteer Festival, the Millennial Puppet Show, and a blend of technology and heritage.




INDONESIA: The Indonesian Puppetry Association (PEPADI) is set to orchestrate a mesmerizing array of puppetry events to commemorate National Puppet Day 2023.

This celebration revolves around the timeless art of Wayang, a term that finds its roots in Javanese, signifying “shadow.”


(Photo: Muhammadiyah)

Beyond its literal form, Wayang embodies profound philosophical reflections of human attributes, encompassing emotions like anger, greed, wisdom, and more.

Crafted with meticulous artistry, these puppets, hewn from leather or wood, serve as the central figures in traditional drama performances, adroitly maneuvered by puppeteers known as dalang.

Each puppet is painstakingly tailored to mirror the distinct character traits and behaviors it represents.

The realm of puppetry encapsulates a diverse tapestry of artistic disciplines, spanning acting, sound, music, oratory, literature, painting, sculpture, and symbolic expression.

Wayang, a continuously evolving art, transcends the boundaries of entertainment, serving as a conduit for information, spiritual guidance, education, and philosophical exploration.

This captivating series of events is slated to unfold at the Kautaman Wayang Theater, nestled within the enchanting Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) in Jakarta, from 1 to 7 November 2023.

This year’s National Puppet Day observance promises an eclectic array of activities, featuring the Children’s Puppeteer Festival, the Millennial Puppet Show, and a unique performance uniting two puppeteers on a single stage.

Chairing the National Wayang Day Commemoration committee, M. Kabul Budiono passionately emphasizes the significance of this event in safeguarding Indonesian traditions and the international recognition they’ve received from UNESCO as World Cultural Masterpieces.

He passionately asserts, “This event reaffirms Indonesia as the global epicenter of Wayang.”

The Children’s Puppeteer Festival, scheduled for 2 and 4 November, serves as a cornerstone of PEPADI’s mission to bridge the generational gap by bringing the art of Wayang closer to young enthusiasts, with children aged 8-15 participating in a competition-style festival.

dalang cilik

(Photo: Instagram/PEPADI PUSAT)

In a spotlight performance, the Millennial Wayang Performance will showcase the prodigious talent of Pramariza Fadhlansyah, who, despite his young age, has devoted himself to puppetry from an early stage.

On 5 November, he will weave an engaging narrative, depicting the heroic journey of Gatotkaca and commemorating National Heroes’ Day on 10 November.

Gatotkaca, a beloved figure in Central Java’s Wayang tales, is celebrated as a valiant knight, embodying the spirit of this timeless art form.

On 7 November 2023, PEPADI will join forces with the National Secretariat of Indonesian Wayang (Senawangi) to co-present a unique performance featuring two skilled puppeteers, one specializing in leather puppets and the other in golek puppets, all on a single stage.

Radityo, the Secretary General of Central PEPADI, expresses unwavering confidence in the future of puppetry in Indonesia.

He underscores the extraordinary enthusiasm among young people for Wayang events, including the Children’s Puppeteer Festival, heralding both the remarkable quantity and quality of talent that graces these stages.

This year marks the 5th annual commemoration of National Puppet Day, a tradition initiated in 2018 along with the establishment of this national day.

What sets this year apart is the introduction of a novel dimension.  Wayang performances will be televised on the TVRI channel, enhanced with captivating graphics, offering a more modern and immersive experience.

Kabul Budiono envisions this leap forward as an opportunity to harness the latest technology, simultaneously engaging the interests of the current generation.

He shares his exciting vision, “On TVRI screens, you will witness Gatotkaca soaring majestically, akin to a real-life hero. The forest settings will come alive with the aid of lifelike LED technology.”

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Should invite Milo Aunty. That one is wayang and puppet level 99.

Over here in Singapore, it is National Puppet Day EVERY DAY, especially when parliament is sitting.