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Hari Idul Fitri: Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia

Islam is the number-one religion in Indonesia, with roughly eighty-seven percent of the country’s population identifying as Muslim (as of 2010). In addition, Indonesia is known to have more Muslims than any other country in the world! This means that Muslim holidays are a pretty big deal here.

A major Muslim holiday, the Eid ul-Fitr celebration in Indonesia is a festive occasion with a variety of traditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the origins of Eid ul-Fitr, Indonesian observances for this holiday, and some new vocabulary words!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Eid ul-Fitr?

Eid ul-Fitr is an important Muslim holiday, marking the end of Ramadan fasting. This holiday was initiated by the Prophet Muhammad himself.

Traditionally, Eid ul-Fitr was celebrated in Medina following the Prophet Muhammad’s journey out of Mecca. Here, he found people having a massive celebration; he told them that there were two other days on which they should be celebrating instead (this holiday along with Eid ul-Adha).

Considering Indonesia’s huge Muslim population, it’s no surprise that Eid ul-Fitr is a major celebration each year!

2. When is Eid ul-Fitr This Year?

The Quran Lit by a Candle

Each year, the date of Eid ul-Fitr varies on the Gregorian calendar. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: May 24
  • 2021: May 13
  • 2022: May 3
  • 2023: April 22
  • 2024: April 10
  • 2025: March 31
  • 2026: March 20
  • 2027: March 10
  • 2028: February 27
  • 2029: February 15

Note: The holiday actually starts the evening before the dates given here, and then lasts until the end of the given dates. Dates can also vary a little based on the moon’s cycle in a given year.

3. The Eid ul-Fitr Celebration in Indonesia

A Woman Visiting Her Parents with Her Child

The night before the Eid celebration, Muslims gather in the mosques to proclaim Allah as the Great God (an act which is called takbir in Indonesian). On Eid ul-Fitr, Indonesian Muslims get up early in the morning in order to perform ablution (called wudhu in Indonesian). After this, they put on baju baru (“new clothes” ) and visit mosques for the Eid prayer. Before they enter the mosque, however, Muslims are obligated to give an Eid ul-Fitr donation to the poor and other people who are in need.

Many Indonesians have a mudik (“homecoming” ). They visit their family members and offer each other Eid ul-Fitr greetings. One of the most common Eid ul-Fitr wishes in Indonesian is Selamat Idul Fitri (“Happy Eid Mubarak”). This mudik is unique because many Indonesians actually begin this visit a couple of days before the holiday begins.

Earlier, we mentioned an Eid ul-Fitr donation that Muslims are obligated to offer. Well, in Yogyakarta, this takes the form of an event called Grebeg Syawal. During this event, Indonesians fight over a mound of local produce offered by the sultan. It’s believed that receiving this produce is a sign of special blessings.

Pontianak employs the use of cannon fire to enliven its Eid ul-Fitr celebrations. A jumbo-sized wooden cannon mounted on the bank of the Kapuas River blasts throughout the holiday, accompanying the sound of chants and drums. Traditionally, Indonesians used this cannon fire as a means of repelling an evil female ghost called kuntilanak.

4. Holiday Food for Eid ul-Fitr

A dish called ketupat is served on Eid ul-Fitr. This is a glutinous rice dish wrapped in coconut leaves and cooked in coconut milk for a distinct savory flavor. Other popular dishes for this holiday include:

  • Rendang
  • Gulai ayam (“gulai chicken” )
  • Opor ayam

What’s your favorite Indonesian food? Check out this list, and let us know in the comments!

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia

A Bedug, a Drum in Java for Religious Use

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia!

  • Kereta api — “Train” [n.]
  • Idul Fitri — “Day after Ramadan” [n.]
  • Rendang — “Rendang” [n.]
  • Baju baru — “New clothes” [n.]
  • Bedug — “Bedug” [n.]
  • THR (Tunjangan Hari Raya) — “The Religious Holiday Allowance”
  • Oleh-oleh — “Souvenir” [n.]
  • Ketupat — “Ketupat” [n.]
  • Opor Ayam — “Opor Ayam” [n.]
  • Mudik — “Homecoming” [n.]
  • Gulai Ayam — “Gulai chicken” [n.]
  • Kurma — “Date” [n.]

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to check out our Indonesian Eid ul-Fitr vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you discovered something new about Indonesian culture in this article, and that we’ve fueled your desire to keep learning!

Do you celebrate Eid ul-Fitr in your country? If so, are celebrations there similar to those in Indonesia, or maybe a little different? We look forward to hearing from you!

IndonesianPod101.com has more free learning resources for you, such as the following blog posts:

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Anyway, we’re glad you joined us today to learn about the Indonesian take on this Muslim holiday. Happy learning! 🙂

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