6 Most Popular Islamic Celebrations in Indonesia

The majority of people living in Indonesia is Muslim. Islam has the most following in the country in comparison to other religions. It is no wonder that many Islamic celebrations are carried out nationwide. Muslims across all parts of the country are always looking forward to these 6 Most Popular Islamic Celebrations in Indonesia. Learn all the meaning behind these celebrations and read on how Indonesians honor them.

1. Ramadan

Every year, the muslim in Indonesia carry out their fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. It is the month that ends with the celebration of Eid. Ramadan is set in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The date and month vary, depending on the Muslim calendar.

In the month of Ramadan, Muslims start to fast when the sun is rising. They break the fast when the sun has set. Only then, are they allowed to eat up until the sun rises again. During the fasting, they are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke. They must also refrain themselves from getting angry and doing any acts that are sinful. Those are some of the Muslims must follow when fasting in Indonesia. The Muslims also carry out prayer with others at the mosque after they break their fast. This act of prayer is called taraweh. Some Muslims are allowed not participate in the fasting such as the sick, pregnant women, women on their period, children and travellers.

Muslims in Indonesia love Ramadan. They carry out their fasting with joy and sincerity. After all, the aim of Ramadan is to surrender to God. It teaches people how to control their worldly needs. Also it makes people to be more grateful for the life and everything that have been given from God.

2. Eid al-Fitr

Eid in Indonesia is possibly the biggest muslim holiday in Indonesia. This Islamic celebration takes place at the end of Ramadan. It is when Muslims are finally able to break their fast that they have successfully done throughout the entire month. Eid is the the month when Muslims reach their ‘victory’.

According to the Islamic calendar, Eid is the very first day in the 10th month. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by first attending the Eid prayer. It is done in the early morning at the local mosques nearby. After the prayer, people return to their family. They wear their best and newest clothes that symbolise purity. They open their houses to their neighbours and friends. Relatives travel from cities to villages so they can reunite with their family members. Cookies, sweets and all kinds of assortments are offered to visitors.

Children and adolescents are given money from the adults. The poor also get a share of the money to support their livelihood in the form of Zakat. During Eid, Muslims are also expected to forgive each other’s mistakes in this celebration. They have to try to let go of any grudges and settle any disputes among one another.

3. Islamic New Year

The Islamic new year takes place on the first day of the Islamic calendar’s first month. The new year begins when the new moon is observed at sunset. Muslims are expected to reflect on themselves on this new year. They must always remember to be grateful too. Most people often spend the new year by going to prayers in the mosques. They also like to be with their family at this time. The Islamic new year is a public holiday in Indonesia where people have days off from their works.

All the Muslims carry out their traditions, festivals or rituals according to their regions. For instance, there is an old tradition called Ruwatan in Java. The people will have a huge puppet shadow performance for the ritual. People are also poured with blessed water to purify their souls and wash away their sins. There is also the Kirab Kebo Bule tradition in Solo. Buffalos that are considered as sacred are paraded all around the city streets. People are always enthusiastic to watch the parade.

4. Eid Al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)

Eid al-Adha is another major religious celebrations for Muslims all over the world. It is joyously celebrated as the second most popular right after Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha is an event that commemorates the day when Abrahim is willing to sacrifice his own son under God’s command. Just right before he carries out the act, God gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. Muslims in Indonesia welcome this event in big ways too.

It is compulsory for men to carry out their prayers at the mosques with the other Muslims. Women are allowed to not attend the prayers. The main event of the celebration is when the animals are sacrificed. They include sheep, goats or cows. The meat from the animals are then shared with the people in the community.

Both the rich and the poor get a share of the meat. Families would cook the meat in famous food of indonesia. The meals are eaten among the family members. The Muslims also give a visit to their distant family relatives. The atmosphere of the celebration is warm and full of gratitude.

5. Birth of the Prophet (Mawlid al-Nabi)

Muslims in Indonesia also celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. It is carried out on the 12th day of the third month in the Islamic calendar. The celebration for this Islamic event is more conservative and religious. Many Muslim communities would carry out communal and special prayers with each other.

For many Muslim in Indonesia, they use this celebration as a reminder of the country’s unity. Muslims are reminded to always to care for each other as they are brothers and sisters. They must maintain peace and togetherness among every Indonesian. The celebration may often take place at the famous national monument, Monas in Jakarta.

Other regions will celebrate it in their own ways too. For example, in Lombok people would bring offerings consisting of food and fruits to the mosque where they will eat together. In Aceh, the people cook a special food called Lemang. The food consists of sticky rice and coconut milk. The process to cook it is long, at least 4 hours. Also, in Tangerang people celebrate by parading around a huge paper boat all around the city. The boat will end up in the Cisadane river.

6. Isra Miraj

Last but not least is Isra Miraj. This is an Islamic celebration that commemorates the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad. It takes place on the 7th month of the Islamic calendar. Indonesians are given a day off for this event. Many Muslims will attend communal prayers at the mosques. Families come together and make use of their holiday in the best way possible.

In the Northern Sumatra of Indonesia, people celebrate Isra Miraj by holding a big event for the harvest season. That is how the people show their gratitude to God for the harvest that they get. In Cirebon, people pay their visit and give prayers to the 2 most important people who have spread Islam. They are namely Pangeran Kejaksan and Pangeran Panjunan. The palace in Cirebon will also hand out some food to the people and the mosque. They mostly contain Indonesian fermented soybeans, eggs, potato, chicken and shredded young coconut.

Furthermore, if you want to know more about atmosphere of Eid Al-Fitr in Indonesia, here the video you can watch.

These celebrations are indeed full of joy and gratitude to God. The Muslims in Indonesia show how much they care for everyone in the community through these celebrations. They always try to maintain tolerance among each other inside a country that consists of many different beliefs and religions.