Your Guide for Religious Holidays in Indonesia

In case you are planning a holiday in Indonesia, you most certainly already expect to discover a world of amazing landscapes, exotic cultures, ancient customs, and beauty never seen before. There is a way to make this experience even richer and more rewarding. You may choose to include one of the many national holidays in Indonesia – there are 13 of them, all approved by the government. Long weekend are not uncommon, therefore you could enjoy feasting with happier, more relaxed locals.

Confession Diversity 447x297 - Your Guide for Religious Holidays in Indonesia

The Confession Diversity
Indonesia is know as an Islamic state, but even though people of Muslim confession are majority, there are certain areas in which Christians or Hindus are dominant. Some of these feasts are not celebrated on the same date each year, because the calculations are based on different calendars. Easter, the Chinese New Year or Waisak are being celebrated as in any other country.

Indonesia Muslim Holidays
Because these are based on the Islamic calendar, which is shorter than the Roman one, their date is different each year.

  • The Muslim New Year – Also known as Tahun Baru Hijrah or Satu Muharam, it mark the beginning of the Hijrah calendar and the new year. It is the first day of Muharam.
  • Birth of Prophet Muhammad – Known as Maulid Nabi, it is on day 12 of Rabiul Awal in the First Spring Season or the Month of Birth. The Prophet Muhammad was born on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, this being the 3rd month of the Muslim lunar year. He was born in the city of Mecca. At this time, Indonesian Muslims gather and recite thanksgiving prayers to Allah who sent His messenger. In the mosques, and not only, there are frequent lectures on this topic during this time. People dress in their best garments, children receive gifts, and some cities host carnivals and parades. Such traditions are grouped under the name of the Mauludan Festival.
  • Ascension of Prophet Muhammad or Isra Miraj is a time of prayer and happens during the 7th months, in its 27th day.
  • End of the Ramadan – When the fasting month ends, mass prayers are held and also a mass ‘exodus’, as people go to celebrate with their families and friends.

Christian Holidays
These fall on the same days as in all other countries. The list of national holidays is as follows: the Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, followed by the Easter of Hari Paskah, the celebrating of Jesus rising from the dead and, 40 days after, the feast of His ascension to heaven. His birth is also a great time of joy here as well, Christmas being celebrated as Hari Natal.

Hindu Holidays
There are two major events in this category: the Galungan, which refers to the coming of the gods and other celestial spirits to dwell with their descendants, a time of festivities, and the Nyepi, or the Hindu Day of Silence, also known as the New Year in the Balinese calendar. Therefore, the biggest celebrations will be seen in Bali. Great noise is made then, to chase away the bad spirits, and for the following day no one gets out of their homes.

Besides the religious holidays in Indonesia, there are also commemorative, national and international ones. These are marked by a red date in the calendar. You should be aware that banks, offices, schools and most businesses are closed during such holidays. Consult an Indonesia events calendar to know everything about the celebrations, their type and when they occur.

Author Bio:
Involved in Asia travels, David is offering insight on the culture and life of Indonesia. To make the most out of your trip, he also recommends Garuda Indonesia for good rate flights to your destination of choice in the archipelago.

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