Kindergarten Party Fun in Western Sumatra, Indonesia! (photo/video essay)

Payakumbuh kindergarten dancer

It’s not every day that I attend a kindergarten party/celebration–especially in a village in Sumatra! So I shot many photos (and some video), which I’m sharing so that you can get a sense of what it was like to be there…


Payakumbuh kindergarten dancer

The Invitation

You may be wondering…how did I end up there?

Well, Eti, the friend/English teacher I was staying with in Tiakar Guguak (a village in Payakumbuh, Western Sumatra), said that we were both invited (people knew that I was her guest and that I’m a teacher and thus, extended the invitation) and so, of course I went. I had a feeling it would be a fun and interesting way to see and experience the culture from another perspective.

We showed up a little late and were immediately seated close to the front, where the view was best—and handed little boxes with bananas (fried and non-fried). And small plastic cups of water and straws (very common here.) The show had already begun and the next part of it—the singing—was about to happen.


The kindergarten girls joined together on stage and sang, and then one belted out a tune on her own.


Kindergarten girls ready to sing



There was also dancing, which was quite impressive for kids so young. The dances were choreographed and the costumes looked heavy for the warm, sticky weather. I give the kids credit for the hard work they did!

Group dancing


Video of Kindergarten Dancers

Most of the photos I have are of the girls, but I do recall the boys (in white outfits) being involved at some point… The girls, however, ran the show for the most part. And the teachers sat in the audience, watching proudly…

Proud teachers watching

Proud Payakumbuh teachers (some from other schools) enjoying the show


Later, people removed their shoes, went inside the school and sat and ate, sitting on the floor (which is quite common.)

Shoes outside the door

Shoes are removed before entering all homes in West Sumatra and sometimes at schools...


I was invited to eat, but wasn’t hungry (had a huge breakfast) and declined. One of the women in charge was not pleased and gave me a little slap on the arm that stung a little. I was shocked, but then learned later that it’s common and is meant lightheartedly only.

After that, I ended up eating a tiny bit (I also learned to eat less at each meal just in case I found myself in a similar situation)… :)

The Village Chief

Anyway, the show was adorable and the party was fun. Many of the people of the village were there—including the chief—and in the end, it was a cool experience. I’m glad I went.

Chief of Tiakar Guguak

Teachers in red and pink...

I think these were teachers, but I'm not sure. They may have been singing coaches...hmmm.

Your Thoughts/Experiences?

Have you ever attended a traditional school celebration in another country? If so, where…and what was it like? If not, would you like to?

Also, what do you think of this party? I personally think the kids worked hard to put on a great show!

Payakumbuh boys at kindergarten celebration

Can’t Get Enough?

Want to read more about my experiences staying in Tiakar Guguak, Payakumbuh? Then check out these posts:

Teaching: The Unexpected Gifts

Village in Sumatra: Photo of the Day

Newlyweds in Sumatra: Photo of the Day

6 Offbeat Experiences I’ve Had in Sumatra

Saying Goodbye–and Why It’s So Hard This Time

5 Responses to Kindergarten Party Fun in Western Sumatra, Indonesia! (photo/video essay)
  1. Dyanne@TravelnLass
    June 26, 2012 | 5:25 am

    Tooooo cute (the video an added treat!) And purely amazing that these tiny remote villages can display such meticulously pressed and elaborately gilded costume finery.

    But I must say, surely you know better than to EVER decline an offer of food/drink in such rural villages. It’s one of the few ways country folk can show hospitality. I’m not at all surprised she (my guess, not so playfully) slapped you. Full or not my dear, it’s considered rude to not at least accept a teensy bite.
    Dyanne@TravelnLass recently posted..Mea Culpa to the World Capital of Tres Chic CaffeineMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      June 26, 2012 | 11:18 pm

      Glad you liked it, Dyanne! It really is amazing, isn’t it…?

      Re: the food…on that particular day, I’d eaten something for breakfast that Eti had given me, which I thought was breakfast. Then, she went out and got something else, which I ate (despite being full). Then, there was more at the party. I definitely learned my lesson that day! LOL I now eat less earlier in the day when there’s any event coming up…

  2. Naomi
    June 28, 2012 | 9:13 am

    I was at Lake Maninjau for the Independence Day celebrations (which is in August so you’ll miss it) and was amazed at the outfits, the choreography etc of all the students performing in the parade which went on for ages. Different kids were dressed up to represent different cultural groups all over Indonesia with their individual local costumes. And we’re talking maybe 50 or 60 different costumes here. Then the bands, the cheerleader outfits, my god it was up with an Olympics opening ceremony!!
    I love the girl in the frills with the two pensive boys next to the piano, a great shot!
    I agree with Dyanne, that weren’t too playful a slap you got there!
    Naomi recently posted..Counting downMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      June 28, 2012 | 10:08 pm

      HI, Naomi. How cool that you were at Lake Maninjau…I hear it’s fantastic (will visit it if I come back in 3 years)! That parade sounds cool, like they put some much energy into it. Love that kind of thing! Glad you liked that photo. Re: the slap….yes, I learned.

      PS: When I hear from you and Dyanne, I feel like you my “travel aunts”….you really get what’s going on, give great advice and let me know when I’ve messed up! He, he, he…
      PPS: Still at Lake Toba. Leaving tomorrow. Heading up to Bukit Lawang next!

    • CB Driver
      June 28, 2012 | 10:09 pm

      PS: The mosquito situation has been OK so far. I have some very good repellant for when I need it and I picked up this little mosquito repellant machine, which you plug in. Works great! (Will post about it sometime.) I also have a very lightweight net–just in case. Pain to hang, but worth it if needed. Thanks again for your advice about all of that, too!

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