13 Family Traditions in Indonesia – Characteristics

Every family in the world has special rituals that they carry out during a specific time of the week, month or year. These small rituals or celebrations are turned into family traditions that could be passed down to the next generation. In Indonesia, there are family traditions that are common among the different Types of Family in Indonesia which are affected by their culture or religion. Here are 13 Family Traditions in Indonesia. Read on to find out what these family traditions are and how they are usually performed or done by the family members.

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1. Nyadran

Nyadran is a family tradition that is commonly practiced by the Javanese especially the ones who live in East and Central Java. This family tradition is often carried out during the holy month of Ramadan. During Nyadran, a family would come to the cemetery of family members who have passed away. Together, the family would clean the graves. They would then pour flowers and pray.

2. Khitan

Khitan is the process of male circumcision that is carried out by the Muslims in Indonesia. This tradition of the male circumcision takes place in hospitals or the clinics. Once the circumcision is done, the event continues to the afternoon. The family will do a feast for to celebrate it. There is also sharing of food among the neighbours. The sharing of food is a form Cultural Habits in Indonesia with the means of giving back to the community that has joined the celebration.

3. Sungkeman

Sungkeman is a Javanese family tradition that has been passed down for many generations. This tradition is done by kneeling in front of the people who are older than you, such as your parents or grandparents. When you kneel, you also kiss both of their hands while also keeping your head down. Sungkeman is a tradition meant for asking forgiveness. It can also be a form of asking a prayer from the elder ones.

Also read: Bad Manners in Indonesia

4. Mitoni

Mitoni is also a family tradition that originates from Java. This tradition takes place when a pregnant woman is entering her 7 month period of pregnancy. During this period, it is said that the pregnancy is almost into completion. To celebrate this big event, the family would carry out Mitoni to deliver prayers and hopes for the safety of the mother as well as the unborn baby.

5. Otonan

Otonan is a Hindu family tradition in Bali, Indonesia. The tradition is celebrated after a child has been born for 6 months. The tradition is meant to make up for the wrongdoings that were done during the past life. It is hoped that in this next life, the person will reach a more perfect state of life. When Otonan occurs during a full moon, then the celebration will be bigger.

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6. Ngaben

Ngaben in Bali is a ritual that falls under the family tradition of Balinese. This ritual is the process of sending off the soul of a family member who has passed away. The corpse is placed inside a casket made to look like an ox. The casket will then burned with the corpse on a specific date. During the ceremony, family members are not allowed to cry. They have to show happiness to ease the deceased soul to reach the state of nirvana.

Read more: Hinduism in Bali

7. Halal Bi Halal

Halal Bi Halal is a family tradition of the Muslim Javanese. This tradition occurs more frequently during the celebration of Eid in Indonesia. A family would visit other family members, close friends or the neighbours around the home during the celebration. The family would use this opportunity to stay in contact with people as well as ask for forgiveness.

8. Giving Money during Eid

During the Eid celebration, there is a tradition of giving money to other people. This money sharing often carried out by the older family members to the young family members. It can also be a form of giving money from one family to the other neighbouring family.

Also read: Unique Celebrations in Indonesia

9. Exchanging Gifts during Christmas

For the Christians family in Indonesia, there is a tradition of exchanging gifts among family members during Christmas in Indonesia. This tradition is a chance where the family can gather together and swap presents. The exchanging gifts during Christmas can also happen between friends too.

10. Decorating Christmas Tree

This is also another tradition that the Christians family in Indonesia do. They get their tree out into their home and decorate it with various items. There could be baubles, tinsels, stars or twinkle light. This tradition is a good way to interact with each family member as everyone is happily decorating and celebrating.

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11. Yearly Family Picture

Most Indonesians family have the tradition of taking yearly family picture. The picture is often taken when every member of the core family is present. A picture may also taken with extended family members. The family picture is set out to be a reminder of precious family moments. It’s also a great way to look back at how people change during the years.

12. Family Night

A lot of Indonesians also have a tradition of family night. During this night, the members of the family gather together to do activities together. Some of these activities could be shopping, watching movies or eating out at restaurants. When the whole family members are eating out, knowing Dining Etiquette in Indonesia can help to manage your manners. Besides all that, members of the family who have work can spare some of their time for this family night. That way, they can still be a part of the precious family moment.

13. Eating Together

Indonesians family usually eat together at home whenever they can. This tradition helps the family to spend time together and to talk about various topics. The families would eat together at a table. Another way to enjoy this tradition is by sitting on the floor. All the food are prepared on a mat so the family can take whatever they want easily.

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Knowing all these family traditions in Indonesia can help you understand what family means to them. They can also help in understanding how the cultures in Indonesia still heavily affect these traditions.