The eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar of the year of the dragon, has a special meaning for people in Tangerang, especially for the Chinese community. At that special month and year, there is always a great procession held by Boen Tek Bio, the oldest Chinese temple in Tangerang. Last Saturday, October 6, 2012, was the fourteenth procession being held since the first time.
Let us go back in time to an era before 1844 when Boen Tek Bio was not as it is in the present shape. At that time, it was not a temple, it was just a simple house made of bamboo where the Chinese community of old Tangerang prayed to Lord Buddha with the help of the Boddhisatvas. There were four Boddhisatvas’ statues were kept in the house; those were Kwan Se Im Hud Couw (Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa), Kha Lam Ya (Qie Lan Ye), Hok Tek Ceng Sin (Fu De Zheng Shen), and Kwan Seng Tee Kun (Guan Sheng Di Jun).
As the people who visited the house to pray increased rapidly, the elderly in the local Chinese community decided to renovate the house. So in 1844, they began to reconstruct the house into a Chinese temple. In the process, the four Boddhisatvas’ statues were moved temporarily to a neighboring temple called Boen San Bio.
In 1856, when the reconstruction process finished, the statues were brought back to Boen Tek Bio in a big procession. The people greeted the Boddhisatvas along the way to Boen Tek Bio. They made a big celebration to welcome the Boddhisatvas to their new home, Boen Tek Bio Temple. The procession in 1856 might be the first procession which was later on became a tradition held regularly once in every twelve years.
Recently, the procession has been turned into a mixed cultural party celebrated by each and every people, especially in Tangerang. In 2012, the procession was not only followed by the Chinese community which performed Chinese cultures and traditional arts, but also by Balinese Hindhu community with their own tradition and music, a group of Reog (a cultural art performance originated from East Java), a group of tanjidor (a local traditional music style), groups of angklung gubrak and rebana (traditional musical instruments), and a group of modern drum-band performed by local high school students as well.