Indonesian people lifestyle

If you haven’t been before in any Asian country, maybe after you will come to Indonesia, you will have slighter (or bigger) cultural shock. The main thing – come to Indonesia with open eyes and heart, without any attitudes or negative wonder. Don’t judge Indonesian people, culture and country – just accept it how it is.

Some things that you should know before coming to Indonesia about Indonesian people lifestyle and maybe it will help you not have cultural shock.

People behavior

  • Curiosity: Indonesians are very curious people. In the first meeting they can ask very personal questions. They do not mean to be impolite or disrespect your privacy with asking these questions, this is the way how they try to be friendly with strangers.
  • Staring: in Indonesia, it is not considered impolite to stare. Sometimes when you are out in public, you will feel yourself the object of staring. Adults will point you out to their children; people will stop what they are doing to watch you, etc.! The fewer foreigners in the area, the more stares you are apt to receive.
    Most expats deal with the staring by just ignoring it. There is really nothing you can do about it; no matter how uncomfortable you are, it will always happen!
  • Meeting agreements: when you plan something with Indonesian you should know that “tomorrow” (“besok”) doesn’t have exactly the same meaning than ours. If Indonesian says “Besok kita makan bersama” – it can mean “We eat together tomorrow” or “We eat together in 2 or 3 days” and etc. depends on the context. The same with “yesterday” (“kemarin”) it can mean “yesterday”, “the day before yesterday”,”one week ago” and etc.
  • “Elastic Hour” (“Jam karet””): if you agreed to meet at one time and your friend comes one hour later, smiling as nothing wrong – it’s nothing wrong in Indonesia. Punctuality is not so important in Indonesia. Don’t think that your friend doesn’t respect you because he is late. Don’t be offended, rather adopt. Indonesian time, which is really relaxing.
  • Respect showing: to show respect to parents, elder people, teachers and etc. younger people take their hand and touch their forehead (“salim”).
    Politeness: smiling is very prevalent and is often used even when people don’t like something or they don’t agree.
  • Laughing: if you ask someone to do something, but he cannot do it, laughing could be a way to express his embarrassment. The Javanese society is based on the concept of “rukun”, that is to say the willing to make peace and harmony the main priority in social relationships. The main point on Javanese culture is the willing to avoid all kind of clashes, or conflicts. Then, the difficulty for Javanese people to say no could be due to the willing to avoid conflicts.
  • Answers: if people don’t understand something or doesn’t know something, they still will show that they understand and know, like they don’t want to embarrass the other person by making them repeat the question.
  • Showing the way: most of the time, as often in Asia, Indonesian people are not used to read map and usually it’s hard understand when they explain how to get to any place. Better to ask several different people how to get to the place, like Indonesians even if they don’t know they want to help and say things that they think they know.
  • Explaining directions: only in Yogyakarta if you want to go somewhere and asking Indonesians how to get there, they will explain everything not in “ turn left”, “turn right” way but saying the main direction: North (direction to Merapi),  South (direction to Parangtritis), West (direction to Kulon Progo or sunset), East (direction to Prambanan/Solo or sunrise). So try to go from Kasongan (South) to UGM university (North) by Indonesian explanation: “From the gate of Kasongan, go to the North. You will pass 5 traffic lights. On the 6th traffic light go a little bit North and turn to East then turn to North side again. On 7th traffic light – turn East. You will pass 2 traffic lights, on 3rd traffic light – turn to North and will see UGM gate”. Do you think you will manage to reach the place? :).
    Beeping all the time: in the roads you will hear many beeps. Don’t worry Indonesians do that often not because you did something wrong, but because they want to inform you that they are coming
  • Shaman: Indonesian goes to shaman instead of doctor (when they get sick) or police (when they got robbed). It’s happening especially in villages.
  • Fever cure: if Indonesians have fever they do “kerok” – scratch the back and front body with metal money. To wind get out from the body, they believe that wind makes them get fever.
  • Indonesians wakes up very early: like most of them are Muslim, first they go to pray ~ 4:00 am (morning praying) and after that – start their daily works. Not all of them like this, but in villages it’s most common.
  • Walking habits: usually Indonesians don’t walk; use the vehicles even if they need to go to shop that is 5min. walk by foot.
  • Coughing and sneezing: it is not common for traditional and less educated people in Indonesia to carry handkerchiefs or tissues, and often they do not understand how diseases are spread. Therefore it is not unusual to see people coughing or sneezing openly without attempting to cover their mouth or nose.
  • Spitting: this habit is particularly common during the fasting month. Some strict Muslims refuse to swallow their own saliva while fasting, and spit saliva onto the ground or in the street. Gargling and spitting is part of the ritual cleansing before Muslim prayers.
  • Smoking: the vast majority of Indonesian men smoke, excessively! There are many public spaces where you will inevitably have to breathe in cigarette smoke. A law that banned smoking in transportation terminals, malls, offices, hospitals, schools, and universities, places of worship, buses, trains and playgrounds has been in effect in Jakarta since 2006, but it is not entirely enforced.  Most office buildings and public areas of malls are complying; however, there will still be a smoking section in most restaurants.
  • Long thumbnails: sometimes you will see an Indonesian man with one or two very long nails, usually the thumbnail. This is intended as an indication of his status as a non-manual laborer or worker.
  • Wetness: a traditional Indonesian bathroom contains a trough of clean water, from which water is scooped up in a plastic dipper (“gayung”) and poured over the body while standing on the floor of the bathroom. After soaping up all over, more dippers full of water are splashed over oneself to rinse off. This same practice is utilized when going to the toilet, resulting in very wet toilet seats!



Eating habits

  • Using hands: mostly Indonesians use hand (“muluk”) to eat food.
  • Tools: you can see that people as well eating with spoon and fork, but very rare with knife. Like they believe that knife is a weapon as well, they can do everything with the hand – so why use the knife?  The spoon they use in the right hand and fork in the left (or vice versa for lefthanders). The fork holds food steady while breaking off portions with the spoon, and is used to assist in loading up the spoon by pushing food into it. Most food is cut up into relatively small pieces before it is cooked, although chicken and duck are usually served on the bone, and fish is often served whole.
  • Indonesian use to eat fast and silently.
  • Place: sometimes Indonesian food is served and eaten not at a table, but on woven mats covering a low platform or the ground. This style of eating is called “lesehan” and is common in Yogyakarta and Central Java as well as West Java.
  • Rice: Indonesians eat rice 3 times per day (with fish, vegetables, egg and etc.). “Kalau belum makan nasi, belum makan” (if you haven’t eaten rice, you haven’t eaten), which implies that no matter what snacks you have consumed, you have not had a proper meal until you have filled your tummy with rice in some form or another. They should eat rice once per day at least to feel good.
  • Cold food: most often in “warungs” and “angrigans” you can get a bit warm or cold food, like food prepared earlier and nobody warm it, you just select  from food what is ready and you see in front of you. It’s nothing surprised to eat cold rice, chiken, boiled vegetables or other dishes.
  • Burping: it is not considered impolite to burp, and can even be regarded as a sign of appreciation of a good meal, therefore Indonesians generally do not excuse themselves after burping.

Other

  • Working hours: mostly small shops or eating places doesn’t have working hours. One day they can be open at one time, next day – at another. The activities (school, work and etc.) usually start at 7:00-7:30 am.
  • Evening time: at 6:00 pm usually is totally dark outside and after 10:00 pm (especially in the villages)  is very quiet (like people goes to sleep after early waking up).
  • Couples living: it’s taboo and immoral if in the same place lives a couple, who is not married (especially in the villages). Even if the couple is foreigners, most of communities don’t accept them and don’t let rent a place there. The owner will ask for a wedding certificate before renting his place to a couple. There can be exceptions depending on the community leader liberality.
  • Hair cutting: there are special barber places only for cutting man’s hair.
  • Pharmacy: in some pharmacy (especially in smaller towns, villages) they can ask you to show marriage paper before selling contraception pills. Officially it’s not allowed to have sex before marriage and if you are not married it means you don’t need such pills.
  • Toilets: mostly in toilets there is no flushing system, so you need to use water from container. Also most places has “Turkish style” (squat) toilet, you can find sitting style as well but don’t expect that it will be everywhere :) Indonesian people do not use toilet paper, but they wash them self with water, always available in WC. Indonesian people use the left hand to wash themselves, while they keep the right hand to shake hands and to eat. If you cannot do without toilet paper, always keep with you a package of tissues.
  • Hot water: there is no hot water (only you can find it in hotels, rich people houses or sometimes in villages near mountains). It can be a bracing and refreshing experience to bathe from a traditional “bak mandi”, as only room temperature water is used. Warm water is only for babies, the elderly or the sick.
  • Animals at home: roaches, geckos, small lizards, ants, mice and etc. are usual animals at home that you can see on your walls, hear sounds on the roof.
  • Language: Indonesia are bilingual – use national language “bahasa Indonesian” and local language for example “bahasa Java”.
  • Refilling: you hardly will find services for which you need the contract. You need drinking water or gas – you buy water or gas gallons and refill it; you need electricity – you buy “pulsa” put the code in your counter and have it; you need to use internet or mobile-you pay for “pulsa” and seller will put needed information to his mobile and you have it. For Indonesians everything should be easy – agreements for services makes everything too complicated.
  • Trashes: don’t surprise to see everywhere the trashes. Like Indonesian people throw it anywhere – to the river, just straight on the street or even in front of their houses.
Information used from Javanese people sharing and internet sources, as well some pictures.
Lifestyle of Indonesian people
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  • Does any of these Indonesian people lifestyle examples reminds you any from your country?
  • You know more Indonesian people common behavior? What kind of?
  • To which of these things would be hard for you to adapt?

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Interesting facts about Indonesia

Before coming to Indonesia, I didn’t know much about this country. But after I started to search information, I was surprised how “rich” is Indonesia :). Even some of the facts became my travel destination. I hope these interesting facts about Indonesia will be useful for you as well:

Nature:

  • The country is 2nd after Brazil with the highest level of biodiversity in the world.
  • The Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, which is the world’s most powerful volcanic eruption. It affected the global climate to such an extent that it was called “year without summer”.
  • Indonesia has the smallest fish in the world named the Paedocypris progenetica, with a length of 7.9 mm and found in a Sumatra muddy swamp.
  • Indonesia has the world’s longest snake called the Python Reticulates, which is ~7 meters long and can be found on Sulawesi island.
  • Indonesia has the world’s smallest primate named the Tarsier Pygmy (Tarsius pumilus), also known as the Mountain Tarsier, whose length is only 10 cm. This animal looks like a monkey and lives on trees found in Sulawesi island.
  • Indonesia has the world’s largest flower called the Rafflesia Arnoldi, which has a diameter of up to 1 m during the blossom phase. Reaching 5ft high and 4ft wide, it only blooms for 3 days and for 8 hours of these 3 days, the flower gives out the rotting flesh smell. Found in Borneo and Sumatra islands.
  • Indonesia has the only living ancient dragon, Komodo, which can be found in Komodo island. Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, is an endemic species of Indonesia; the creature is also the national animal of the country.
  • Javan rhinoceros is an animal that lives only in Indonesia; in any other part of the world you will not see this animal.
  • Indonesia has the largest mangrove forest in the world. The main benefit of mangroves is to prevent erosion by sea water.
  • Indonesia has the world’s largest amount of orchid biodiversity. There are about 6 000 species of orchids, ranging from the largest (Tiger Orchid or Grammatophyllum Speciosum) to the smallest (Taeniophyllum, which has no leaves). The collection also includes the Black Orchid, which is extremely rare and can only be found in Papua.
  • Indonesia has the largest number of shark species, which is approximately 150 species.
  • Indonesia is the world’s richest in term of most extensive coral reefs. It has about 18% of the total coral reefs around the world.
  • With more than 450 different bird species, Java Island is a bird watcher’s paradise.
  • Sumatra is the biggest island of Indonesia, which comes under the Greater Sunda Islands. It is also the 6th largest and the fifth highest island in the whole world.
  • If you wanted to spend one day on every single Indonesian island, you’d need more than 45 years.
  • By land mass size, Java is the world’s 13th largest island, and 5th largest Indonesian Island. It was formed mainly by volcanic eruptions and has an east-west chain of them along the island.
  • The main island Java is as big as New York State. Java is split into four provinces: East Java, Central Java, West Java, and Banten.
  • Puncak Jaya is the highest point in Indonesia, situated in the highlands of Papua.
  • At the top of the Indonesian volcano Kelimutu situated three lakes, each of which periodically changes color from turquoise to green, red and black. Such transformations are caused by volcanic gases, which react with a variety of minerals dissolved in the water, thereby changing the color of the lakes.
  • Certain fruits of Indonesia make foreigners curious. These fruits seem strange as they have no name in the foreigner’s language and they never knew it existed. The Durian fruit is one of them which is known to be the king of fruits. Salak (“snake fruit”) and Duku are some other examples of such “strange” fruits.

People:

  • Indonesian people take it easy and slow. Indonesia is near the bottom of the ranking in “speed of walk” among all the country in the world. Even though people in Jakarta are as busy as other workers in other big cities of the world, their speed when walking is notably slow. If there is Japanese/Western people who also live in Jakarta and walk among us Indonesian, you would spot them immediately, because their speed stands out.
  • The most important thing in Indonesia is not really “success” or hard-work or be of use for those around them. It’s being happy and loves their life. They don’t need big money as long as their life and their family are peaceful and easy. Maybe “take it easy and enjoy the risk” are the motto. The thing is, this attitude toward life is what makes them suffer the most. Sadly, they won’t change. They won’t put big effort but because they want their life to be easy, they have a lot of demand. And granted, it’s not being fulfilled.
  • In Java island locals can often ask you to be photographed with them. The standard phrase “Hello misterrr, photo?” Even if you the girl, they will call you the same – “Mister”. Like in their language doesn’t exist “she/he” only “dia” that’s why sometimes for Indonesians hard to remember which gender is “Mister”, which is “Miss”.
  • Rice is the main food staple in Indonesia. Indonesian at least once per day should eat rice to feel full; usually they eat rice 3 times per day.
  • Balinese are named according to their birth order. The 1st is Wayan, the 4th is Ketut and if you are the 5th, it goes back to Wayan.
  • The small Indonesian Hindu population mostly lives on the western island of Bali. Balinese Hinduism is steeped in ancient superstitions. They never let a baby’s feet touch the ground for the first six months, to prevent the devil entering the child. This means that babies are continually passed around like hot potatoes by relatives.
  • Almost everyone in Bali has their teeth filed down. They believe that the essence of the 6 vices (jealousy, anger, confusion, drunkenness, desire and greed) enters the body through the top 6 teeth, so by filing away their “demonic” ends, the vices are thwarted and entry to heaven is guaranteed.
  • Most of the time, as often in Asia, Indonesian people are not used to read map.
  • Indonesian people do not use toilet paper, but they wash oneself with water, always available in WC in Indonesia. Indonesian people use the left hand to wash themselves, while they keep the right hand to shake hands and to eat. If you cannot do without toilet paper, always keep with you a package of tissues.
  • Indonesian mostly eats with hands. Do not use your left hand, and try to use only the first three fingers (thumb, forefinger, and middle finger). Wash your hands before and after eating with the finger bowl which is put on the table. Indonesian use to eat fast and silently.

Other:

  • Name “Indonesia” was first used by the British in the mid-19th century. It comes from the Greek “nesos” (island) and Indus, the Latin name for the land beyond the Indus river, which was derived from the Sanskrit name for that river: Sindhu. Dutch colonists didn’t like “Indonesia”, preferring Dutch East Indies or Malayan Archipelago. As a result, it was adopted by the anti-colonial movement in the early 20th century.
  • The oldest hominid in the world, Pithecanthropus Erectus, is found in Indonesia. Its origin is dated way back from 1.8 million years ago.
  • Another early human being, Homo floresiensis (“Flores Man”, nicknamed “hobbit” and “Flo”) is the possible species, now extinct, in the genus Homo. The remains were discovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia.
  • The country is so expansive in its area covered that it has 3 time zones. It is one of the countries that have not been fully explored or mapped.
  • Indonesia is a major producer of cloves and nutmeg (It’s used in cooking, as medicine and as a hallucinogen). Nutmeg is native to Indonesia’s Banda islands and ranked first in the world in terms of production.
  • Indonesia is the largest exporter of plywood, which makes up 80% of the supply to the world.
  • In the markets and in some shops there are no price tags, it is possible to bargain and make a price lower by two-three times.
  • Usually the shops, eating places doesn’t show their working hours, so one day they can open and close in one time, next day in another.
  • One of the world’s unique funeral processions takes place in a Toraja, a small town in Sulawesi island. Funeral procession will took around 7 days and cost a fortune. That’s why families usually save up their money for years before they can bury their loved ones. The dead bodies they are keeping in their house.
  • Movies in cinemas and on television, never duplicated in the local language. Movies are shown in the original with Indonesian subtitles.
  • “Nasi goreng” is Indonesian fried rice dish that is the world’s 2nd most beloved food as per a CNN poll and also known as national dish of Indonesia.
  • It is the world’s largest producer of palm oil, 40% of which is set aside for use as biofuel. It also exports 3,000 tons of frogs’ legs to France each year.
  • The green spaces are not so common in Indonesia. Some cities have the city center arranged as a park, green space for people, which is nice, but other than that, you have to search and discover your own places where you can take a rest.

The facts that you probably already know:

  • “Unity in Diversity” is the national motto of Indonesia.
  • The flag of Indonesia is similar to the flag of Monaco. Like the Indonesian flag, the flag of Monaco also has two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white.
  • The total land area of Indonesia places it at the 15th position in the world. Flying from one end to the other, from North Sumatra to West Papua, takes over 12 hours of flying time.
  • In terms of population, Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world (after China, India and United States) with over 253 million (2014) people.
  • About half the population of Indonesia lives on less than US $2 per day and the unemployment rate here is almost 10%.
  • With a population of 143 million, Java is the home of 57% of the Indonesian population, and is the most populous island on Earth.
  • In Indonesia there are around 300 ethnic groups.
  • The Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but the government only recognizes 6 official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism). On the island of Java, more than 90% of the people are Muslims, on a broad continuum between abangan (more traditional) andsantri (more modernist). Some parts of south-central Java are strongly Roman Catholic and Buddhist communities exist in Java’s major cities.
  • Jakarta (capital city) with a population of more than 10 million is one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
  • Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the national language of Indonesia, used in schools and other state-run enterprises, as well as in the media. However, Indonesia as over 700 indigenous languages, meaning that many Indonesians are bilingual, speaking their indigenous language at home and Indonesian at work or school.
  • Indonesia is a very diverse country in terms of culture and around 583 languages and dialects are spoken in the country.
  • During World War II, the Japanese invaded and occupied Indonesia.
  • The Dutch kept Indonesia colonized for almost 350 years, owing to the fact that many old Indonesians speak Dutch fluently. Many Indonesian words have been derived from Dutch.
  • During the colonial periods of the 17th century, the Dutch introduced the cultivation of commercial plants in Java, including sugarcane, rubber, tea and coffee. In the 19th and early 20th century, Javanese coffee gained global popularity. This is in fact why the name “Java” is commonly considered being synonymous with coffee.
  • Indonesia was formerly known as Dutch East Indies.
  • Indonesia became the member of the United Nations in the year 1950 and today it is the signatory to the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, the Cairns group, and the WTO.
  • There are around 17,500 islands in Indonesia (out of which 6,000 of these islands are inhabited) taking up almost the same space as the United States. New Guinea, Borneo (also known as Kalimantan), and Sumatra island are on the list of the top ten largest Islands in the world.
  • There are over 150 volcanoes in Indonesia. 127 of them are active. Records at least 3 earthquakes per day.
  • Indonesia is a part of “The Ring of Fire”, the volcano group. About 75% of the volcanoes of the Ring of Fire are in Indonesia.
  • Almost 60% of the country is covered with forests.
  • Indonesia sits on both sides of the equator (the line cuts across islands Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan along with a few other small Islands in the middle of the country). Experiences tropical climate year round and its average temperature do not fluctuate much throughout the year. Average range of the temperature remains between 26-30 degrees Celsius.
  • Indonesia has a biggest Buddhist temple in the world – Borobudur, built in 9th century.
  • 2 sports that are the most popular among Indonesians are badminton and soccer. Illegal gambling of sports is on the rise in the country.
  • The Indonesian industry mainly imports chemicals, fuels, food-stuffs, and machinery and equipment’s while electrical appliances, rubber, plywood, oil and gas, and textile are the main export products here.
  • Tourism is the main industry of Indonesia. The country attracts hordes of tourists and nature lovers from all across the globe for its pristine tropical forest and culture of the people.
  • 20% of liquid natural gas in the world is produced in Indonesia and country is the largest supplier worldwide.
  • In Indonesia left-side traffic.
  • Indonesian loves spicy foods! Order a pizza or hamburger here; you will get some sambal packages.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak is from Indonesia. Coffee beans that are eaten by civets and digested before being brewed.

Here are more 5 facts about Indonesia from indahs.com

Do you know more interesting facts? Share with us :)

Information and most of the pictures used from internet sources.

Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

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Indonesian holidays

In Indonesia there are many opportunities to enjoy long weekends and holidays as there are 13 national holidays. The government also declares that collective leave should be taken on some days, usually a Monday or Friday, before or after a national holiday in order to create a long weekend.

In Indonesia there are 4 types of holidays: religious, national, international and commemorative. Ones that are designated “red date” (“tanggal merah” – a date that is designated in red on a calendar) signify national holidays when government offices, schools, banks and most businesses are closed.

It was quite confusing in the beginning, sometimes go to shop in week days and see that some of them are closed. Other time – all of them are closed. I didn’t understood how to understand their working hours till I got a desktop calendar from my university where was marked “red dates” and other important celebrations. So I prepared some information about Indonesian holidays and made a calendar which I hope will help you to plan your visits to official institutions or trips in Indonesia.

In Indonesia using 3 calendars:

  • Muslim calendar – Hijri – a lunar calendar, 10-11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. The calendar begins in the year that Mohammad took flight from Mecca to Medina. Each lunar month has 29 days.
  • Gregorian or Roman calendar – used throughout the world, this calendar marks its beginning with the birth of Christ. The year is divided into 12 months, consisting of 30 or 31 days, except for the month of February.
  • Balinese calendar – Saka-Wuku – the Balinese calendar is a combination of Saka, the Hindu solar-lunar year of 12 moons, and the Javanese-Balinese Wuku calendar of 210 days which is divided into weeks. The combination of these two calendars and the many names for the different weeks and days make the Balinese calendar a complicated puzzle to solve. Experts in the field consult special charts and tables to determine days for the various religious festivals and significant days.
    The Balinese calendar is used to determine birthdays (“oton”), anniversaries of temples (“odalan”), and the many festivals and days for things that are so important in the everyday life of the Balinese. It is also used by rural Balinese to determine good days for the planting of crops. The calendar is determined by the phases of the moon, the most important days being each full moon (“purnama”) and new moon (“tilem”).

Religious holidays in Indonesia

The Indonesian government officially recognizes five religions: Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist and Hindu. As images in other countries, each of these religious communities in Indonesia celebrates events that are important to their faith. Some of these are national holidays, others are not. The Ministry of Religion decides the dates on which religious holidays will be held each year. The following are faith-based holidays that are national holidays (“tanggal merah”) in Indonesia:

Muslim holidays in Indonesia
The dates for many Muslim holidays vary from year to year as they are based on the Islamic or Hijri calendar, which is 10 to 11 days shorter than the Roman calendar.

  • 1st Day of Muharam – Satu Muharam or Tahun Baru Hijrah – Islamic New Year.
    Marks the beginning of the New Year on the Hijri calendar.
  • 12th Day of Rabi-ul-Awal – Maulid Nabi Muhammad – Birth of the Prophet Mohammad.
    Milad-un Nabi or Maulid (Mawlid) is the birthday celebration of the Prophet Mohammad.
  • The month of Rabi’ al-Awal (the First Spring Season) of the Islamic calendar is well known in the entire Muslim world as Shahr al-Mawhid (the Month of Birth) of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad was born in the Arabian city of Mecca on the 12th Day of Rabi-ul-Awal or the third month of the Muslim lunar year.
    In Indonesia, Muslims gather to recite special prayers of thanksgiving to Allah for sending the Prophet Muhammad as His messenger. Speeches and lectures are made in mosques and elsewhere about the life and instructions of the Holy Prophet. After prayers, sweets are distributed and perfume may be sprinkled on adherents. It is also a family occasion; people dress up in their best clothing and children receive money or gifts. In some cities in Indonesia, such as Yogyakarta and Solo (Surakarta), believers celebrate the Maulid by conducting parades or carnivals, reciting special prayers and singing holy songs which they called “Barzanzi”. The tradition is called the “Mauludan Festival”. During the festival there are competitions to win food, which the people believe has been blessed by the Prophet.
  • 27th Day of the 7th month – Isra Mi’raj Nabi Muhammad – ascension of the Prophet Mohamma.
  • 1 Syawal – Idul Fitri or Lebaran – end of the Ramadhan fasting month.
    The end of the month of Ramadhan, the Muslim month of fasting. Mass prayers are held in mosques and large open areas around the country. Celebrated with the traditional dish “ketupat” and visiting with family and friends. Charity donations (“amal”) are traditionally given at this time. Just prior to Lebaran a mass exodus (“mudik”) from Jakarta of over 3 million people occurs as residents return to their villages to celebrate with family and friends. Begging of forgiveness for any transgressions or slights in the past year is expressed during visits, “Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin”. A Lebaran bonus, THR, is traditionally given to all Muslim staff or employees prior to the holidays. In urban areas “halal-bihalal” (mutual begging of pardon) gatherings are held. This is the time of year when Muslims traditionally buy new clothes.
  • 10th Day of Dzulhijjah – Idul Adha or Lebaran Haji – Muslim Day of Sacrifice.
    Commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son upon God’s command. Falls at the end of the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Mass prayers are held in mosques and large open areas around the country. Animals are sacrificed and the meat is given to the poor.

Christian holidays in Indonesia
Christian holidays fall on the same days as in other countries. The following are national holidays:

  • Dates varies – Wafat Isa Almasih – Good Friday – commemorates the death of Jesus.
  • Dates varies – Hari Paskah – Easter – celebrates the day Jesus arose from the dead.
  • Dates varies – Kenaikan Isa Almasih – ascension of Christ – commemorates the day Jesus ascended into Heaven.
  • 25th of December – Hari Natal – Christmas – celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

Hindu holidays in Indonesia

  • Dates varies – Hari Raya Galungan – Galungan.
    Celebrates the coming of the Gods and the ancestral spirits to earth to dwell again in the homes of the descendants. The festivities are characterized by offerings, dances and new clothes.
  • Dates varies – Hari Raya Nyepi – Nyepi.
    Hindu Day of Silence or the Hindu New Year in the Balinese Saka calendar. The largest celebrations are held in Bali as well as in Balinese Hindu communities around Indonesia. On New Year’s Eve the villages are cleaned, food is cooked for two days and in the evening as much noise is made as possible to scare away the devils. On the following day, Hindus do not leave their homes, cook or engage in any activity. Streets are deserted, and tourists are not allowed to leave hotel complexes.
    Nyepi is calculated according to the Çaka lunar calendar and falls at the time of the new moon in the months of March or April each year. The coming year will be 1932. The name Nyepi comes from the root word “sepi” meaning quiet or silent. Although it is a national holiday.
    In Bali religion is a very important part of everyday life and the people perform daily offerings to the gods and actively participate in the numerous temple festivals and rituals. Balinese Hindus also make offerings and perform temple rituals to placate demons that they believe personify the destructive forces of nature. On the day before Nyepi major offerings are made to the demons at village crossroads, where evil spirits are believed to loiter. Before every ceremony a cleaning ceremony or “mecaru” must be held to drive out the devils and spiritually clean the place.
    The broadcast facilities in Bali are also shut down for 24 hours from sunrise on Nyepi as a sign of respect for the beliefs of the Balinese people during the 24 hours of absolute silence. You can check other Bali events which can be interesting to attend in 2017.

Buddhist holidays in Indonesia

  • Dates varies – Hari Waisak – Waisak Day – date varies according to the Buddhist calendar.
    Commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. This celebration is enlivened by religious and social activities in Buddhist temples around the country. In Indonesia, the largest Buddhist temples, Candi Mendut and Candi Borobudur are the focus of interest and attract those observing the holiday and tourists.
    Three major historical events are celebrated on Waisak. The 1st is the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. The 2nd is the acceptance of the divine revelation under the Bodhi tree. And the 3rd is the journey of Siddhartha Gautama to heaven. These three big events occur exactly on the Full Moon Purnama Sidhi. Thus, Waisak is also very well known as Tri Suci Waisak or Three Holy Events. Buddhists celebrate Waisak by praying to their God Sang Tri Ratna as thanks giving for creating and maintaining the earth and its resources in harmony. It is very common for Buddhists to celebrate Waisak with the presentation of fruit, flowers and candles. For Buddhists, candles symbolize their philosophy of life, the sought-after enlightenment. Only about 1% of Indonesia’s population is Buddhist the whole country joins in honoring this special Day celebrated by Buddhists in Indonesia.

National holidays:

  • 17th of August – Hari Proklamasi Indonesia – Indonesian Independence Day.
    Indonesians celebrate the proclamation of independence from 350 years of Dutch colonial rule. Festivities abound in cities and villages alike, organized by the government, neighborhood community associations and organizations.

International holidays:

  • 1st of January – Tahun Baru – New Year’s Day.
    New Year’s Eve is celebrated with some revelry in urban areas. Hotels, discos and major restaurants offer special meals, entertainment and dancing.
  • January – February – Imlek – Chinese New Year.
    The Lunar New Year is celebrated by Indonesians of Chinese ancestry. Visiting of family and friends, special dishes and gifts of money (“ampau”) mark the day’s activities. Dragon dances are held and limited outdoor decorations are seen on businesses and homes. Most Chinese merchants close their shops for at least one day and maybe up to a week. The date for Imlek is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. Some of government offices are open for business.

Indonesian official holiday schedule for 2017, 2018, 2019:

Main Indonesian holidays

Other holidays – commemorative days:

In addition to the official holidays, many religious, historical, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by businesses as holidays.

Indonesian holidays

Information and most of the pictures used from internet sources.
Indonesian holidays
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