by Abu Hanifah
JAKARTA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Indonesians observed Tuesday the day of Batik, the Javanese traditional fabric that has been adopted as a national identity and has been endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an intangible World's Heritage for humanity in 2009.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono enacted a presidential official document on Nov. 2009 that declares Oct. 2 as national batik day, soon after the UNESCO inscripted batik as a World Heritage on Oct. 2, 2009.
The inscription of batik as a World's Heritage, officially defined as (Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity), was made after UNESCO commission members from 24 countries endorsed it in their assembly in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Since then, state and private firm offices have encouraged their employees to wear batik cloth each Friday until now. Many people were seen wearing batik in offices and public spaces in the eve of national batik day. A TV report showed footage of people wearing batik dancing on the street on Purbalingga city, central Java.
Batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique to make cloth that was discovered during the reign of ancient Javanese kingdom of Majapahit.
During the inception of Batik, the cloth was only used by Javanese kings and royal family members. Batik techniques and patterns were well developed and started to be commonly used by people other than royal family members during the widespread of Islam religion among kingdoms in Java.
As times gone by, batik technique was adopted by other kingdoms and sultanates reigning in regions other than Java island. It makes Indonesia now has abundance of batik patterns adopted from various cultures of many tribes inhabiting the country.
Chinese immigrants that came to Indonesia centuries ago also had their own batik pattern, called "batik peranakan," making it their particular identity to show their existence that enrich Indonesia's culture.
In international level, batik has attracted prominent international figures. One of them was South Africa's anti- apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela. His love for batik occurred when he visited Indonesia in 1998.
Mandela who served as South Africa president from 1994 to 1999 was seen wearing batik in his international appearances since then.
Efforts of batik producers to make batik to go-international are still underway at the moment, and national fashion designers designed haute couture cloths using batik.
A prominent batik producer from Surakarta, Central Java, is partnering with United States' The Walt Disney Company to create colorful batik T-shirts, dresses and shirts for Mickey and his cartoon friends. Heri Santoso, an official at the batik firm said that the partnership will bring batik to young consumers and perhaps make a lasting impression.
"Our main goal is to introduce batik to children while at the same time taking the traditional garment to the international stage," he was quoted by a local media as saying.
Indonesia now has 14 tangible and intangible assets that have been inscripted as World's Heritages by the UNESCO. Indonesian government strives efforts to make those heritages providing economy benefits for the people, particularly for those involved in tourism and creative economy industry.
Indonesia seeks more indigenous cultural items that consisted of landscape, cultural dances and traditional weaving technique to be inscripted as UNESCO World's Heritage. Government agencies are now completing the data on the authenticity of those cultures with process to endorse those culture is underway in the UNESCO at the time being.