Movie Java heat – doesn’t give honor for Indonesia

Yesterday I saw an  action movie “Java heat”. Usually I’m not interested in such movies but I was curious to see how Yogyakarta will be shown in this movie. Because it was mainly filming in Yogyakarta and Central Java island.

And I was totally disappointed!

  • 1st because of director Conor Allyn.
  • 2nd because of Indonesian people who after reading storyline approved film shooting in Indonesia.
  • 3rd because of Indonesian actors who were selected for the movie and accepted the offer.
  • 4th because of people who left positive reviews about this movie.


Director who lived in Indonesia almost 5 years (he filmed more movies related with Indonesia) even don’t know (didn’t pay attention) in things which were shown like untruth:

  • Vesak day was shown like celebration for the privileges people: parade with elephants, luxury participants clothes, big tents with furniture inside, like for kings.
  • Showing Muslim guy preparing Christian friend for burial in a mosque?
  • Showing Muslims like killers, he didn’t took just Indonesian people, he exactly choose Indonesian Muslims.

Indonesian people who approved the movie:

  • Accepted to show Indonesian Muslims like terrorists, using Allah name like a reason to kill. After such movies, how people can think that Muslims are not terrorists?
  • Allowed in Borobudur temple jumping through ruins, shooting there and etc. I can’t understand how they got permission to film there. A place of such peace being used as the backdrop for gun play. When at the same time they are making campaigns to educate visitors not to climb on the ruins and etc.
  • Showing Chinese people like prostitution promoter. Even how they allowed to show, that in Muslim country they even have elite prostitutes and it’s possible easy to “order”?
  • Accepted to show that foreigners with big money amount can do whatever they want in Indonesia, even to buy historical Javanese relic or use child sex abuse of boys?

Indonesian actors:

  • I don’t understand how they accept to represent their nation like terrorists?

And people who left review like “Java Heat seemed to be the embodiment of slick collaboration between Western and Eastern cultures that try to give a different perspective on Indonesia.” and etc. I think don’t understand how this movie represent Indonesia.

You think I react too sensitive? It’s just a movie?

But this movie shows and approves almost everything that Indonesian people try to dispose. So how the world can understand Indonesians? In one hand, years by years Indonesians trying to show themselves different from stereotypes about them. But in another hand they approves to film a movie about all Indonesian stereotypes. For what? Because of good money? Does money means everything, even to humiliate the nation?

I’m afraid even to think how director presents Indonesia in other his movies.

I’m not against to show reality, I’m against to show untruth.

In one interview director said that he wanted to show a beauty of Indonesia. For me this movie is very strange understanding of beauty.

By the way, this movie had a lot of attention from international press but only because of 2 famous actors Mickey Rourke and “Twilight” actor Kellan Lutz.

Some reviews about the movie, that I don’t understand. How people see only these things:
Resty Woro Yuniar of Wall Street Journal: Southeast Asia gave the film three and a half stars out of 5, writing “while the plot is predictable, the movie does give a viewer a good feel [Indonesia]” and notes “the movie does a fairly good job of capturing Indonesian traditions.”

Jeff Bounds from Dallas Business Journal noted that the “lighting, the special effects, and the cinematography” looked like it came straight out of Hollywood rather than Indonesia.

Andrew Skeates from Blueprint: Review gives it 3 out of 5 stars and notes that it “delivers its fair share of bone crunching and bullet riddled action scenes. From an extended chase through the back alleys of Java (which features several painful looking motorcycle stunts) to several hard hitting shootouts and a particularly memorable bit with a rocket launcher, Java Heat dishes out some thrilling action beats which have a distinctive old school feel about them.”

Also all reviews seams talking only about screening, acting but what about value that the movie brings?

Couple of the different reviews:
Los Angeles Time
New York Times

As well, I couldn’t even imagine that this movie was screened in film festivals: at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 4, 2013, then at the Taormina Film Fest on June 15–22.

Really I started to think that world goes in some wrong direction or maybe my world is a bit different?

And here is Indonesian people reviews that shows directors mistakes (in Indonesian language, so I will just copy/paste some parts)

Evania Putri Rifyana

<…>there are some scenes that are also considered sufficient to tickle the eyes of viewers who pay close attention. One was when a man who acted as perpetrators of explosions, complete with traditional Javanese dress, casually walked amid the crowd by using a vest containing a bomb that had been left open, but nobody noticed.

Not only that, in one scene traveling entourage envoy Admiral US Navy after the pick Jake, played by Kellan Lutz foreign players, which will aim to Airport also bring a question mark. How could travel to Yogyakarta Adisucipto airport through the streets of small fields and there are directions “Airport” by the way? Yes, maybe it was just a ploy directed to expedite the storyline. But less is considered appropriate to imagine the real situation. On the other hand in the same scene, visible unidentified female figure, dressed in red with long hair tasseled horses off the bike and come to be one of the teams that confront the mysterious journey of the US Navy and his entourage Jake. He acted like a hero Tomb Raider with the gun that fired towards the car entourage, then go just disappeared and did not reappear in the next scene. Not known who she was and what the purpose of the use of female characters in the masculine scene? Is that one form of break-feminist image of women? Or just as a “sweetener” deliberately artificial served to add to the entertainment scene in the midst of a thrilling passion?

Another oddity is also seen in one scene when the character Jake wants to find information about female with tiger tattoo. Jake looks down from a orange three-wheeled vehicle. “Bajaj” is becoming a common vehicle that is identical to the icon of the capital Jakarta, is shown as being part of urban transportation in Yogyakarta. It’s already clear, Bajaj is not used public transportation in Yogyakarta and none at all in DIY.

From all of that, there is the most important thing is not spared from this movie, that is how shown life in Kraton. Peak seen in some scenes stories, the palace courtiers successfully boycotted by the central character an American named Malik, played by Mickey Rourke. Exactly like scenes in Hollywood action movies, with typical Javanese clothes. The courtiers were armed with sophisticated asset rob the palace relics which are kept in the bank, driving a black van in the style of high-profile agent whose section side of the car there is a symbol that looks like the epitome Ngayogyakarta Palace, although the color and text are deliberately differentiated.<…>


<…>practically from beginning to the end has been shown negatively about Islam and Muslims. Instead of showing how tolerant Muslims are, they show opposite.<…>

<…>Hashim, a police lieutenant, has mark on his clothes “Detachment 88”, also in the side of police car marked the “Densus 88”, something strange and ridiculous. Because in reality members of Detachment 88 don’t want to publicize themselves in community<…>


P.S. In my opinion, not to worth spend more than 1 and a half hour to watch this movie :)

If you saw this movie, what do you honestly think about it (not counting “exotic” places and famous actors)?

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What story hides Vesak day lanterns?

Probably most of you, at least once, seen the spectacular pictures or read amazing impressions about Vesak celebration in Borobudur temple in Indonesia? Thousands lanterns fly up at night in the horizon of Buddha statue and temple? But how many of you know what people are ready to do to see this unforgettable view? What is going on during all day celebration and how are treated officers?

I have been in Vesak celebration this year and I will share what real story hides Vesak lanterns ;).

Why this day so special?

Waisak (in Indonesia language) also known as Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in India, Visakha Bucha in Thailand and globally known as Vesak – is a major event in the religious calendar for most Asian Buddhists. Buddhists this day celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Those who observe the religion use it as an opportunity to pay homage to The Enlightened One, seizing the opportunity to reiterate their devotion to principles of Buddhism: the determination to lead a noble life, the promise to develop their minds, the practice of love and kindness and the strive for peace and harmony with humanity. The holiest day is celebrated across the Buddhist world, but is most spectacular at Java’s island Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. Many articles already written about rituals of this celebration, so if you are interested you can read about it more here or here.

2015 year celebration was more special

First of all, this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and other government officials decided to attend the opening ceremony of the Vesak celebration. It means more people wanted to come, not only to see the lanterns inflammation but to see the president from close. Second, organizers were expected ~20 000 Buddhist to attend this event this year.
Also because of some anxiety between Buddhist and Muslims in Myanmar, was a bit worried that can be made some Muslim attacks during this ceremony (like revenge for Buddhist actions in Myanmar). Even not so many monks, that usually come, came this time (maybe they were afraid?). Because of these reasons in Borobudur and around that area were working ~15 000 soldiers and policemen from all central Java.

And what is the reality, how people get inside for celebration closing ceremony – lanterns ignition?

People can freely enter daytime ceremony in front of Mendut temple, as well join the procession from Mendut temple till Borobudur. But to the final part, closing celebration in the evening, you can enter only in several ways (not allow to get inside all people, it’s just prevention not to make too crowded around UNESCO heritage – Borobudur temple): you need to be Buddhist and prove it then you will get invitation or you can give donation at least ~100 000 Rp (~7 EUR) (for this amount you will get your own lantern, will enter Borobudur temple cheaper during daytime and you can go to closing ceremony at night).

To get invitation you need to come to Mendut temple in early morning (and depends on you – you can follow all ceremony till the evening or leave and come back at night).
But to get invitation you need to be a Buddhist. Guess how many tourists who are coming to see lanterns during Vesak day are Buddhist? Probably not a lot (I didn’t check, it’s my guess:P). So how they get to the evening ceremony? Donate? Mostly, not. Because maybe 100 000 Rp (~7 EUR) it’s too big amount for donation even if they can save money on entrance fee to Borobudur temple (what normal cost for tourists ~280 000 Rp – ~18 EUR).

They prefer lie, pretend Buddhist, jump over the fence and maybe try other tricks. How do I know? I was a witness of all this actions.

During daytime, when we arrived to the place where invitations are given, we were told that invitations will be given at lunch time. I met couple of other tourist who were trying get invitations like me.
We all came back to the same post on exact time. Everyone’s had their own strategy how to get invitations (because mainly people weren’t Buddhist)

  • The foreigner’s couple that I met before and had short conversation, came to me and asked if I already got invitations, I said not yet. And they were happy that they have it already. I asked how they get it – they very joyful and satisfied told me that they lie that they are Buddhist
  • One foreigners group which for me didn’t look like Buddhist (sorry maybe it’s my stereotype, but come to holy celebration wearing things like going to the beach, doesn’t associate with going to pray or meditate) had local guide. He was convincing responsible person that this tourist group is Buddhist and wants to get inside in the evening. Unfortunately they didn’t have any paper that proves that they are Buddhist. Guide took some time for convincing but finally he got invitations.
  • I met one more familiar foreigner. She was wearing T-shirt with one Buddhist organization logo. When I asked if she is a Buddhist, she said no. Just she have Indonesian friend who is Buddhist, so she asked him to be written in their organization participants list to get inside in the evening ceremony.
  • I saw and Indonesian people who I know from the look. They are not Buddhists (they follow other religion). They came wearing white T-shirt (they dressed up it when arrived). It’s not written law that Buddhist if not wears they organization T-shirt, they can wear white T-shirt – it means they are Buddhist or at least very supportive to Buddhism.
  • Inside the temple, in the evening, where you can get in with invitations, I met one foreigner. He was surprised that to get inside people needs invitations. He didn’t know about it. He just jump over the fence to get in. Even if it was many security who checked surrounding, probably if you really want you can find the way to go through the fence.
  • Others-were waiting in front of the entrance gate for the time when they will be allowed to get inside (usually when ceremony already partway, people are let inside without invitation as well). But instead of waiting they started organize “fake” pressure in front of the gate just to get in. Security didn’t want any tragedy, they open the gate for couple of minutes, to first people get inside and reduce crush.
  • Some Indonesians made “fakes” organization paper with participants list, to get inside “officially”.

I’m not writing here the advices how to get in the ceremony “illegally”. I just want to share reality of people behavior.  What they can figure out and do just because of their aim. The right way to get inside – is just come with an official paper from the Buddhist organization. If you are not Buddhist just donate money. I started to think is those 100 000 Rp really worth to lie, pretend and betray your belief? Is this holy celebration is all about it?

You curious how I get in, if I’m not Buddhist? No I didn’t use my “contacts”, lied or did something else. I went to post where they was giving invitations and ask for couple of them (for me and friends). They asked me if I’m Buddhist and I asked back “how you will check it, if I will say yes? The religion written only in Indonesians ID, in my country ID isn’t written”. I told him “I don’t want to lie or pretend that I’m Buddhist, because I’m not, and will be honest with you, because all this celebration about good things. I just really want to go inside and see how its looks like”. He smiled, said thank you for honesty and gave me couple of invitations. Why I didn’t donate money instead of asking invitation? For me, living only from scholarship amount, these 100 000 Rp believe or not is big money – I can eat for this sum almost 10 times. Reason only this, otherwise, I would be happy to have my own lantern and put it to the sky with my wish. Many people do that, leave a note on inflammation lanterns in willing that their wish will come true.

How 24 hours working soldiers and policemen were treated?

All security people came to Borobudur area ~4 am and should leave next day at the same time or whatever other time, when all people from Borobudur area will be gone. People were working all day long, without any care from government to provide them water and food (one soldier told us). Do you think these people will be motivated to work and secure if they treated like this? Some group’s chiefs paid for food and drinks from their own money. And when policemen left some water bottles in boxes near the gate (for the later time when they will be trusty), other people just came and took it from boxes while soldiers were further. I saw it by my eyes. They did that without any shame or hiding.
I know all this things because during the day and in the evening, till we were waiting, few policemen, soldiers came to me to speak. You know everybody is curious about foreigners. Even if there were many foreigners they felt more comfortable to come to me, because I was with Indonesian friends, so they felt that I can be more open and friendly to chat with them. Yeah, I really like to speak with people and know more about their work, what they think and etc.

And finally what about organizational side?

This year, some of the parts were a bit different than previous year (my friends who participated before told me). The good thing that almost nothing was delay, everything by the program, maybe because of the president visit? But the lanterns first time were prepared not upstairs Borobudur temple but downstairs. There were a lot of volunteers who helped to show the way and organizing things. As well all rubbish from all area were cleaned so quick that I couldn’t believe that what I saw 15 min. ago, already gone (Indonesian people put trashes whatever).
But something didn’t work out properly with lanterns inflammation. Usually the lanterns should by lighted after monks make the last part of ceremony “Pradaksina”, when they goes 3 times around the temple and turn on the first lantern from the stage, that symbolize enlightenment for the entire universe. But this time the guys in down part started to light them much earlier, when procession wasn’t finished yet. And I saw how organizers on the stage were confused tried to fix the situation, but it was too late. As well this year they didn’t put the thousands of lanterns at one time, just small amount little by little. Like ceremony finished at ~2 am, people were already tired. Most of them started leave after first amount of lanterns were up in the sky. We left ~3 am and we saw that many lanterns still waiting their turn to be lighted.

The bright side

Yeah, even if I experienced different reality of Vesak day (I even thought that I was expected “fairy tale”, but got “daily life” experience), still it’s really beautiful ceremony. In the evening especially. I can’t describe the feeling when 20 min. of meditation thousands of prayers were totally quite. Was possible to hear only moving leaves sound and geckos. Really amazing to see that magnificent lights, joy of prayers. If you will have chance to see it, it’s worth – just please don’t get inside in “wrong” way. It’s holy celebration, so at least you can behave in good way :).

As well, by accident we met one Danish guy with whom we met in Gili Meno island in January. It was so nice surprise in thousand people crowd to see known faces after 6 months :). And one funny thing that I still remember – one Indonesian youth couple, was sitting all the time in front of “angkringan” where we stayed for a while. Till it was bright outside – the girl was with hijab, but when became dark she took out her hijab. So what means to wear hijab in Indonesia? Fashion? About this I will tell you later :)

So this is my story behind the lanterns beauty.

Have you been in Vesak celebration in Indonesia or somewhere else? What was your experience?

  • Each year Vesak day celebrated in different days. You can check in calendar when will be celebration in 2018 and 2019.
  • Prices of parking and everything else rises double during the celebration. Parking in front Borobudur 20 000 Rp. You can go and search for any other place, further and can find for 5 000 Rp. Just before leaving the motorbike ask till what time is parking. Because some of the people cheating and let park motorbike only till 6 pm, so what to do till all the celebration finish?
  • If you are foreigner, be ready to get attention from locals. There comes a lot of people and will ask many pictures with you. One of my Indonesian friend advised me, to try educate those who asks pictures. Just ask why you want a picture with me if we are equal. I’m a human like you, just look differently, like people from different Indonesian islands looks differently.
  • If you want to walk through all procession wear good shoes, the distance not far, but it will be very slow, will take 2-3 hours of walk.
  • To donate money for lantern you can during daytime in Mendut temple. You will see signs and people who will walk around and suggest you to donate. It’s really worth – you get lantern, get into Borobudur and final ceremony part.
    Pricing for entrance ticket to Borobudur temple.

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Ramadhan and Lebaran in Indonesia

This year I had chance to explore Ramadhan and Lebaran in Indonesia (here more used name Idul-Fitri). I will write about it later. And now I share with you information that my Javanese friends told me and what I found in internet about Ramadhan and Idul-Fitri in Indonesia.

What you should know about Ramadhan and Idul-Fitri in Indonesia:


The dates of the 9th month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadhan, vary from year to year, as the Muslim calendar (Hijri) is based on a lunar cycle of 29 or 30 days. The exact date is determined by the sighting of the new moon. These lunar calculations lead to an official announcement by the government on the eve of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri, so that the faithful know when to begin and end the fasting month. You can find here Indonesian official holiday schedule.

During the month of Ramadhan, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, marital relations or getting angry during the daylight hours. In addition, those fasting are supposed to refrain from bad habits – lying, getting angry, and using bad language as well as to be more diligent in prayer and give to charities. It is believed that fasting heightens spirituality and develops self-control.

The fast begins in the morning just before sunrise, at “Imsak”, and is broken at “Maghrib” which falls at sunset. Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam and an obligation for devout Muslims.

Those who are expected to fast include: adults (defined as those who have reached the age of puberty) and those who are sane. Those who are not expected to fast include: children, women having their period, travelers, the sick, those with long-term illnesses, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the mentally ill.

The faithful who fast awaken early in the morning to have a meal before “subuh”. In order to awaken the faithful, the call to prayer is sounded from neighborhood mosques. In addition, groups of young boys or devoted individuals walk around neighborhoods beating on drums and other noise makers to awaken the faithful (and their neighbors) are yelling out “sahur, sahur”.

The breaking of the fast at sunset is a normally very social occasion for which special foods are prepared for gatherings with family or friends. Upon hearing the sound of the “bedug” drum on the television or radio as well as the call to prayer from the local neighborhood mosque at sunset, the faithful know it’s time to break their fast – “buka puasa”. This is usually done with a very sweet drink and sweet snacks.

“Maghrib” prayers are made before a full meal is served. “Taraweh” congregational prayers are held in neighborhood mosques and at gatherings every evening at about 7:30 pm. These prayers are not compulsory, but they are attended and enjoyed by many. The schedule for “Imsak” and “Maghrib” is posted in major newspapers and on the television throughout Indonesia, as well as published in handouts by major religious organizations.

While it is expected that people will keep to their normal activities during the fast, needless to say the lack of liquid and food during the day and the unusual sleep and meal schedule soon take their toll.

During the fasting month you may see that sleep and food deprivation cause those fasting to have reduced energy levels as well as finding it more difficult to concentrate on tasks.

Why does Islam oblige its followers to fast during Ramadhan each year?

  • To develop compassion for the poor and needy who feel hungry every day.
  • As a spiritually and physically cleansing experience. Just as in other world religions, fasting is seen as an opportunity to separate yourself from the things of this world and to concentrate on your relationship with God.
  • To become closer to God by contemplating his will in your life.
  • To build self-discipline and to become a better person.

How does Ramadhan affect the lifestyle in Indonesia?

  • The overall pace of life overall slows down. Things take longer to get accomplished both at home and at the office.
  • An increased level of patience and tolerance is required when dealing with people who are fasting.
  • You may be awoken early in the morning by the enthusiastic young people parading through the neighborhood (don’t tell them to be quiet! This would be extremely offensive, just quietly endure).
  • Do not speak harshly with those fasting as if they get angry or have negative feelings towards others it invalidates their fasting for that day.
  • Muslims that may not normally be diligent in observing the obligatory five prayers a day may begin to pray regularly during this time.
  • Noise from the local mosques will increase in volume and frequency.
  • Street food vendors and some restaurants close during the day and some restaurants stop serving alcohol. The government orders the closing of night entertainment centers during the first day and the last day of Ramadhan. Some establishments that are in 5 star hotels or better known clubs will be allowed to operate; however will have shortened hours throughout the month. You won’t have any trouble finding seating at restaurants throughout for lunch, but dinner may be more difficult. Buffets catering to those breaking their fast at sunset offer a delicious array of Indonesian specialties.
  • You may feel uncomfortable eating or drinking before your fasting friends. It would be considerate to refrain from eating or drinking in front of others that are fasting.
  • Food prices rise (especially rice, eggs, flour, sugar, milk – mostly those products that needed to make cookies and similar dishes) as Idul-Fitri nears. Supermarkets will become extremely busy as people are looking for special treats to break the fast each evening, and especially the 2 or 3 days prior to Idul-Fitri as they prepare for the feasts at the end of the fasting month.
  • Traffic jams from the afternoon rush hour start earlier as many office workers are allowed to leave earlier than usual to get home in time to break the fast with family and friends.
  • You’ll notice a big increase in beggars at traffic lights as the poor flock into the city from the villages at this traditional time of heightened charity giving.
  • It’s difficult to schedule travel in Indonesia near the end of Ramadhan due to the annual exodus of 7+ million city dwellers to their hometowns. There are two peaks to this exodus which cause major logistical nightmares: 1) the departure from the urban areas back to the home village/town a few days before Idul Fitri and 2) the return to the town of residence normally 1-2 weeks later.
  • Your neighborhood association may organize a charitable drive for the poor in your neighborhood. It is advised that you contribute to this drive as a gesture of good faith and your membership in the local community.
  • You will notice a growing excitement amongst your Muslim friends and colleagues as Idul-Fitri approaches and they make plans for their special celebration.

Lebaran (Idul Fitri)

Lebaran, more often in Indonesia used by name Idul Fitri, is the celebration that comes at the end of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadhan. The Arabic meaning of Idul Fitri is “becoming holy again”.

At the end of the month of Ramadhan and its special religious observance is the Eid holiday, called Idul Fitri . In Indonesia, this is the time when Muslims visit their family and friends to ask for forgiveness for any wrongs they have committed in the previous year. They express this wish in the phrase “Mohon Maaf Lahir Batin” which means “forgive me from the bottom of my heart/soul for my wrongdoings in the past year”. Traditional foods are consumed, family and friends gather to ask forgiveness and exchange greetings, new clothing is worn, children receive gifts of money and visits are made to recreational parks – all to celebrate the successful completion of the fasting month.

On Java, prior to the start of the fasting month (but not during it), visits are made to the graves of family ancestors (“nyekar”) to pay respects, clean the grave and leave flowers, causing major traffic jams near all major cemeteries.
Idul Fitri begins with mass prayer gatherings early in the morning at mosques, open fields, parks and on major streets. It is an amazing sight to see rows of hundreds of Muslim women all dressed in their “mukena” (white, head-to-toe prayer gowns) performing the synchronized prayer ritual. Muslim men tend to wear “sarong”, traditional shirts and “peci” hats to Idul Fitri morning prayers. On the walk home from the mass prayers, quick visits are made to friends in the neighborhood to ask for forgiveness.

Following the morning prayers and neighborhood visits, visits are made to close family members around town. Family members go to their parents first and then to the most senior relative’s house (oldest person in the family) to “Mohon Maaf …” with family members. Then depending on your age/status in the family, you visit aunts and uncles homes to do the same. At each house drinks and cookies or snacks are served, and since it is very impolite to refuse the food, by the end of the day you are so full you can hardly move. These customs may entail several days of visiting relatives and often there will be a gathering of family members at the senior-most relative’s house.

Employees may also visit the homes of their senior bosses in the company or critical business colleagues and government officials to “Mohon Maaf …” after their family visits is completed. Many people also take the opportunity of the Idul-Fitri holiday to visit recreational parks.

While gathering with family, it is customary for the adults to give the young children some money; they may meet even greet you at the door shaking their wallets! It is also customary to distribute money to children in the poor neighborhoods around your home; small bills given to children will bring huge smiles to their faces! Pick up a supply from your bank well in advance of the holiday.

During the weeks after Idul-Fitri many groups hold “halal bilhalal” gatherings where employees from a company, friends, colleagues or members of an organization gather to share a meal and ask each others forgiveness. Non-Muslims are often invited to participate in these festive gatherings also.

Various traditions associated with Ramadhan and Idul-Fitri

  • “Bazaar/Pasar Amal” – organized by various civic, charitable and neighborhood organizations, goods are sold at discounted prices to help the poor celebrate the holidays with new clothing and special foods.
  • “Bingkisan Lebaran” – elaborately wrapped parcels are given by business colleagues or associates to Muslims in the week prior to Idul-Fitri. They are usually arranged in a rattan or wood basket and contain food, small household appliances or dishes.
  • “Ketupat” – traditionally eaten at Idul-Fitri, the rhomboid-shaped “ketupat” casing is made of young coconut frond leaves that are still light green in color. Intricately woven by nimble fingered experts who can complete the weaving in 10 seconds, they are sold to the public at “pasar” (traditional markets) in bunches. The “ketupat” are filled with uncooked rice then steamed and left to cool before serving. The coconut leaf casing gives a unique flavor to the rice, one always associated with Idul-Fitri. The “ketupat” is cut open, removed from the casing and cut into small chunks, then served with various accompanying vegetable and meat dishes (opor and sambal goreng), often cooked in spicy coconut milk.
  • “Sungkem” – the Javanese custom of asking for forgiveness at Idul Fitri which demonstrates the respect given by young people to the family elders. The young person kneels and bows their head to the elders’ knees and asks for forgiveness.
  • “Sembayang” or “shalat” – ritual prayers that must be made five times each day by Muslims.
  • “Takbiran” – the prayer celebration on the evening of the last day of Ramadhan, to herald in the Idul Fitri holiday. Chants are praised to Allah, drums are beat endlessly, dances, songs, religious prayers and sermons are given in public displays of excitement and praise.
  • “Zakat” – the obligatory poor tax that is paid by Muslims during the Idul-Fitri period. “Zakat” should total 2.5% of one’s income, depending on the nature of the gift. “Zakat” is paid to charitable organizations, neighborhood groups or through direct distribution to the poor and needy in the neighborhood. “Zakat” tax is deductible in Indonesia; the funds can be deducted from your gross income before figuring taxes.
  • “Kartu Lebaran” – many people send greeting cards to their Muslim friends (whether they themselves are Muslim or not). For sale in shops throughout the city, Lebaran card designs should not depict people or animals. Geometric designs, mosques, traditional textiles or “ketupat” are common. Most cards have the date of 1 Syawal 141_ H written on the card. You need to fill in the appropriate year in the space. In 2015, the Hijri year will be 1436; in 2016 it will be 1437, etc. Calligraphy artists design specialized cards for customers on sidewalks near post offices and major market areas.

Have you been in Indonesia during Ramadhan or Lebaran? What is your experience – share it :)

Information used from Javanese people sharing and internet sources, as well all pictures.

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