On August 17, 1945, Indonesia declared its independence from Netherlands. This declaration of independence was met with vehement opposition from the Dutch rulers, and was followed by four years of unrest and diplomatic meetings. Finally, in 1949, the Dutch officially recognized the independence of Indonesia but it was not until 2005 that Dutch accepted August 17 1945, as Indonesia’s official date of independence.
The national flag of Indonesia, also known as Sang Saka Merah-Putih was proudly unveiled on August 17, 1945. It is based on the banner of 13th Majapahit Empire in East Java. The design of the flag has remained same since its independence. The flag consists of two horizontal stripes of equal size; the top strip is red, and the bottom one is white. The colors of the flag have special significance for the history and people of Indonesia. While red represents courage, white epitomizes purity.
Preparations for the Independence Day begin way in advance before festivities begin. There are decorations hung all throughout the city with the President’s palace buildings decorated in red and white. Groups of people arrange for community service activities where residential areas are cleaned up. Neighborhood associations coordinate special activities for the children and even request for sponsorship for prizes for the children. The people are required to hoist flags on their residence for a certain period of time. The president then addresses the nation on the eve of Independence Day. There are a lot of commemorations on local TV channels showing the struggle for independence.
On Independence Day, celebrations begin with a flag hoisting ceremony at the president’s palace. This is accompanied by high school students chosen from across the country displaying a colorful show and the public is able to enjoy various fun activities and contests. On the Sunday after Independence Day, the government holds a parade of marching bands. Foreigners are welcomed by most Indonesian people and are able to participate through sponsoring children’s activities or helping to fund other types of activities.
Some Bahasa terms associated with independence day
Dirgahayu RI Long live Indonesia!
Kerja bakti Volunteer work conducted for the good of the community
Krupuk Shrimp chips
Monas Area surrounding Monumen Nasional (National Monument), called “Monas” or Merdeka Square.
Nasi tumpeng Cone of yellow rice, with various dishes, served at ceremonies
Panjat Pinang Game commonly held on Indonesian Independence Day
RT Neighborhood head, neighborhood unit – Rukun Tetangga