Gorontalo Province is located in the Sulawesi Island. The capital of Gorontalo province is Gorontalo city. The province is bordered with Central Sulawesi Province in the West and North Sulawesi Province in the East, Sulawesi Sea in the north, and Tomini Bay to the south. The overall area of Gorontalo Province is 12,435 km2 with a population of 1,133,237 people (2016). The majority of the population is Muslim (97.38%) and Christian-Protestant (1.94%).
Gorontalo Province is inhabited by 5 Ethnics which are united in the family system, called Pohala’a. Each ethnic also formed small kingdoms that were established in the 16th century. Among them are Pohala’a Gorontalo, Pohala’a Suwawa, Pohala’a Limboto, Pohala’a ‘a Bolango, and Pohala’a Atinggola.
Gorontalo City is one of the old cities in Sulawesi besides Makassar City, Pare-pare and Manado. Gorontalo at that time became one of the centers of the spread of Islam in Eastern Indonesia, namely Ternate, Gorontalo, Bone. Gorontalo is the center of education and trade thanks to its strategic location near Tomini Bay and the Sulawesi Sea.
Gorontalo Province is rich in cultural treasures. There are 30 entries of Gorontalo’s cultural tradition which have denominated as Indonesia’s national intangible cultural heritage. Some of the traditional arts are Dana-Dana dance, Dulohupa traditional house, and Gorontalo traditional clothing. Gorontalo custom clothing has a philosophical value on each color, namely:
• Red symbolizes a sense of courage and responsibility,
• Green symbolizes prosperity, fertility, and peace.
• The golden yellow symbolizes loyalty and honesty, and
• Purple symbolizes authority.
It is interesting to see that Batik is not Gorontalo’s authentic textile heritage. Since the 16th Century, the Gorontalo community developed its own textile heritage namely, Karawo embroidery. During the colonial era (17th-19th Century), a lot of traditions were abolished by the colonials. The women community who escaped from the invasion and lived in the forest were able to preserve tradition and pass it down from generation to generation. Recently, thanks to the knowledge exchange from Javanese Batik producers and artists, the Gorontalo community developed their own Batik motifs based own Karawo patterns.