Lebaran or Idul Fitri (Eid El Fitr), is the celebration that comes at the end of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadhan. In Indonesia, this is the time when Muslims visit their family and friends to ask for forgiveness for any wrong they have committed in the previous year. They express this wish in the phrase “Minal Aidin Wal Faidzin” or “Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin” which means “forgive me from the bottom of my heart for my wrongdoings in the past year”.

This year, Idul Fitri falls on Sunday, June 25th 2017. Joint holiday will follow for three days from Wednesday, 28th June to Friday, 30th June.

In Indonesia, Lebaran is celebrated with much joy and festivity to celebrate the successful completion of the fasting month.. Family and friends, cook traditional foods, new clothing is worn, children receive gifts of money and visits are made to recreational parks.

Idul Fitri day begins with mass prayer gatherings early in the morning at mosques, open fields, parks and on major streets. On the walk home from the mass prayers, quick visits are made to friends in the neighborhood to ask for forgiveness.

Eid Morning Prayer at Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta
Eid Morning Prayer at Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta

Following the morning prayers and neighborhood visits, people visit their close family members around town. Family members go to their parents first and then to the most senior relative’s house to ask for forgiveness with them. At each house, foods, drinks and cookies or snacks are served. Employees may also visit the homes of their senior bosses in the company or critical business colleagues and government officials to give them Idul Fitri greetings.

Here are various traditions associated with Idul Fitri in Indonesia:

  • Mudik – mudik or also known as Pulang Kampung is the activity which migrant workers turn to their hometown or village during major holiday, mainly Idul Fitri. The motivation behind this homecoming tradition is to visit one’s family, especially their parents.
Traffic jam during Mudik season usually happens at certain road in the northern or southern route along Java Island
Traffic jam during Mudik season usually happens at certain road in the northern or southern route along Java Island
  • Bingkisan Lebaran or Parcels – are gifts given by business colleagues or associates to Muslims in the week prior to Idul Fitri. They are usually arranged in a rattan or wood basket and contain food, small household appliances or snacks
Parcel
Parcel
  • Ketupat – is a rice cake wrapped in rhomboid-shaped casing made of young coconut frond leaves. Usually ketupat is served with various accompanying dishes and vegetables such as Opor Ayam, Sayur Santan, or Sambel Goreng.
Ketupat and iconic Lebaran dishes: Opor Ayam, Rendang, Sayur Santan
Ketupat and iconic Lebaran dishes: Opor Ayam, Rendang, Sayur Santan
  • Sungkem – is a Javanese custom of asking for forgiveness at Idul Fitri which demonstrates the respect given by young people to the family elders. The young person kneels and bows their head to the elders’ knees and ask for forgiveness.
Sungkem
Sungkem
  • Takbiran – is the prayer celebration on the evening of the last day of Ramadhan, to herald in the Idul Fitri holiday. Chants are praised to Allah, drums are beat endlessly; dances, songs, religious prayers and sermons are given in public displays of excitement and praise.
  • Zakat – the obligatory poor tax that is paid by Muslims during the Idul-Fitri period. Zakat should total 2.5% of one’s income, depending on the nature of the gift. Zakat is paid to charitable organizations, neighborhood groups or through direct distribution to the poor and needy in the neighborhood.
  • Salam tempel – is a term used to name gifts of money given by adults to children in their families and neighborhood. Usually the Rp5,000, Rp10,000, or more notes is put in a small envelope. One unique thing about Salam Tempel is that the money given is usually “new” money, fresh from the bank.
Child receiving Salam Tempel from her adult family members
Child receiving Salam Tempel from her adult family members
  • Kartu Lebaran – is a greeting cards that people usually sent to Muslim friends (whether they themselves are Muslim or not). Calligraphy artists design customized cards for customers on sidewalks near post offices and major market areas.
  • Halal bihalal – is a gathering where employees from a company, friends, colleagues or members of an organization gather to share a meal and ask each other for forgiveness. Non-Muslims are often invited to participate in the gathering also.

Share your experience with us of celebrating Idul Fitri in Indonesia!

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