8 Things to Do during Indonesia’s Independence Day


The Independence Day of Indonesia falls on August 17th. This year, Indonesia will celebrate its 78th independence from the Dutch.

Since the beginning of August, the national colors red and white start to splash across the country. Indonesian citizens are encouraged to hoist the national flag in front of their houses, and the roads will also be decorated with Independence Day’s ornaments like flags in various sizes, banners, red-white ribbons, and even colorful lamps.

For this special occasion, Indonesians have a series of activities traditionally done during the celebration. If you happen to be in Indonesia during the celebration, we have rounded up the ideas on how to join in the fun and festivity of one of the most exciting celebrations in Indonesia.

1.Village-Wide Torchlight Procession on Independence Eve

Things to Do During Indonesia’s Independence Day Torchlight Procession on Independence Eve Pawai Obor
source: indonesia.travel

In numerous regions across Indonesia, the spirit of independence is embraced through the tradition of torchlight processions. Typically, this heartwarming event gathers a mix of children and adults who form a procession, traversing the village with torches ablaze. Brimming with fervor, the participants march along, accompanied by the resonant strains of national anthems. Beyond its festive nature, this tradition kindles a profound sense of unity, fostering an atmosphere rich with togetherness.

2. Attend the Flag Raising Ceremony

What sets the flag ceremony on August 17 apart and makes it feel uniquely special? The execution of the Saka Merah Putih flag-raising ritual possesses a mesmerizing quality that engenders a profound appreciation for the splendor of independence. Whether at educational institutions or within the community, the August 17 flag ceremony exudes an air of solemnity that resonates deeply. Particularly for those who have assumed the role of flag-raising officers, commonly referred to as Paskibra (Flag-raising Troops), the experience becomes etched in memory, creating a lasting impression that elevates the significance of this commemorative occasion.

3. Watch the Independence Day’s Parade

Parade or also known as carnival is also one of the ways Indonesians celebrate Independence Day. Usually the parade is hosted by the provincial or city/district government. Participants vary from various ages, children to adulthood. Ornamental bicycles and cars, costumes parade (usually national costumes), and marching bands will fill the parade event to entertain the crowd. The parade is usually held on the weekend following the August 17 ceremony.

4. Participate in the ’Tujuh Belasan’ Traditional Games

Participating in customary August competitions is an indispensable highlight of every Independence Day festivity. The assortment of contests that infuse vitality into the Independence Day fervor varies considerably across regions, yet they collectively contribute to the celebratory atmosphere. Among the prevailing competitions are cracker eating contests, sack races, areca climbing, clog racing, tug of war, and ornate bicycle parades. Embraced by individuals spanning all age groups—from the youngest to the most seasoned—the thrill of engaging in the August 17 competitions remains a cherished aspect that I long for the most.

5. Kerja Bakti (cleaning up the neighborhood)

This activity is normally held a few days prior August 17th. People in the neighborhood will gather to clean up the environment around them, installing red and white flags on the street, and also paint or repair the gate in their house to beautify their surroundings. People will also erect an ornamental gateway to their village or housing complex.

6. Enhancing Knowledge Through Historical Museums

Source: backpackerjakarta.com

Beyond its educational value, a visit to historical museums serves as a poignant reminder of the unwavering determination exhibited by our heroic forebearers in their quest for independence. This poignant experience fosters a deeper sense of affection for Indonesia. Numerous museum options that resonate with the essence of the independence struggle are scattered across Jakarta. Notable among these are the Museum of Proclamation Text Formulation and the Joang 45 Museum Building.

7. Indulging in Patriotism through Patriotic Movies

Things to do during Indonesia’s Independence Day Indulging in Patriotism through Patriotic Movies
source: .pikiran-rakyat.com

Opting for a movie marathon of patriotic films can provide a powerful reminder of the valorous struggle behind Indonesia’s journey to independence. For an engaging Independence Day movie lineup, consider watching acclaimed titles like “Merah Putih” (2009), “Darah Garuda” (2010), “Soekarno: Indonesia Merdeka” (2013), “Jendral Soedirman” (2015), “Perburuan” (2019), and “Bumi Manusia” (2019). Each of these films encapsulates a unique facet of Indonesia’s struggle for liberty, immersing viewers in a poignant cinematic journey that deepens their connection with the nation’s history and spirit.

8. Shopping Spree

During the Independence Day, many retail stores or online shopping sites give special discounts for certain items purchased on August 17th or certain period of time. Stay tune on your favorite shops and don’t miss the chance to get your desired items in reduced prices. Look for hashtag #HariBelanjaDiskonIndonesia on Instagram to find the best deals during the celebration.