Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport may have an unexplored potential as an exhibition and public recreation destination following a month-long “Bali Mengibung Festival” held at the Island’s sole airport from 21 December 2021 through 21 January 2022.
The term “Megibung” describes a tradition belonging to the people from the Karangasem Regency located on the eastern shore of the Island of Bali. The root term “gibung” in the local dialect generally describes a group activity. “Megibung” has evolved to now refer to a meal eaten by hand from a common serving plate that traces back to meals shared by the soldiers of the reigning raja on the night before going into battle.
As a way of developing esprit de corps and a means of group nourishment, the “Mebgibung” communal eating style has specific rules and protocols that have evolved over several centuries. Eating without the aid of forks and spoons from a common tray, hands must be thoroughly washed and enjoyed while sitting down on woven mats. While scooping food and conveying it to the mouth, great care is taken to ensure that no food falls to the ground in this process. Food must only be taken from the designated sharing platter and never be pilfered from other platters enjoyed by adjoining groups. Once an individual has eaten his fill, diners must sit patiently and wait for their companion to complete his meal. Water for the meal is served from communally-shared clay teapots (kendi/nyeret) aimed at the mouth, taking care to avoid the lips from making contact with the pot’s spout.
As reported by NusaBali.com, the hosting of the month-long “Bali Mengibung Festival” at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport entertained the relatively high level of passengers passing through the airport. Small and medium-sized traders participating in the Festival recorded 4,723 transactions.
Speaking on Sunday, 23 January 2022, the general manager of the Airport Authority (PT Angkasa Pura I), Herry AY Sikado, explained to the press that the Festival showcased a diverse range of entertainment, including contemporary dance, live theater, acoustic concerts, children fashion shows, costume events, and culinary exhibitions – all presented in the domestic arrival terminal of the Airport.
Commenting on the event, Sikado said: “I hope that by presenting these activities, this will become a critical moment for Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. This event will demonstrate to all concerned that the Airport is not only a place to process flights but can also be used as a place to relax while enjoying culinary and various entertainment events.”
Building on the impetus of the just-completed Megibung Festival, PT Angkasa Pura will continue to innovate, finding more ways to give the best possible service to air passengers while also supporting the small and medium-sized business sectors.
During the month-long Festival, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, made a special visit to Bali’s Airport to view the Bali Megibung Festival first hand.