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Celebrating Pancasila Day in Indonesia


Everyone has certain values, ideologies, or principles which guide them and help them be the best person they can be. Whether this is a certain religious code, a philosophy, or just a general mindset, these values are an important part of being human.

Well, countries are founded on values and principles, too!

In Indonesia, this is the Five Principles of Pancasila, which we’ll discuss in this article. You’ll also learn about Pancasila Day in Indonesia, how Indonesians observe this holiday, and some useful vocabulary.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Pancasila Day?

The Five Principles of Pancasila Emblem

Pancasila Day, though not a public holiday, is a day of peringatan (“commemoration” ) for the Lima Asas Pancasila (“Five Principles of Pancasila” ). These principles are the cornerstone of Indonesian government and society, and they are:

1. Belief in the One True God
2. A just and civilized humanity
3. The unity of all Indonesians
4. Democracy under the wisdom of a popular collective of representatives
5. Social justice for all Indonesian people

These are the principles that were laid down by Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in 1945, right before the country gained its freedom and independence. This ideologi (“ideology” ) was a way of ensuring kerukunan (“harmony” ) amongst the diverse groups of people all throughout Indonesia.

The thread of monotheism that runs through the Five Principles of Pancasila helped maintain greater peace amongst Christians and Muslims, and the other four principles promised equal rights and representation for all Indonesians.

On Pancasila Day, Indonesians are encouraged to commemorate and reflect on their dasar negara (“national principle” ).

2. When is Pancasila Day?

A Man Thinking with His Hand to His Chin

Every year, Indonesians celebrate Pancasila Day on June 1. This is the date on which Sukarno gave his speech in 1945.

3. Indonesian Pancasila Day Traditions

Flower Wreaths at a cemetery

In Indonesia, Pancasila Day is not a public holiday, so many people still need to work on this day. But this doesn’t mean that Indonesians forego celebrations altogether!

There are usually flag-raising ceremonies in honor of the negara (“country” ) and its founding principles. During these ceremonies, there may be speeches or demonstrations concerning the role of the Pancasila in modern-day Indonesia. Some cities in Indonesia may hold special Pancasila parades, such as the one Ende held in 2017.

Due to the unifying nature of the Pancasila, Indonesians often utilize this holiday to remind their fellow citizens of how important it is to be civil with each other. This can take the form of a vigil or prayer night with members of various religions joining together, or perhaps a poetry reading (like the one held in 2019 in Semarang).

4. The Garuda Pancasila

Do you know what Indonesia’s national emblem is?

It’s called the Garuda Pancasila. This emblem features a shield that depicts the Five Principles of Pancasila, protecting the body of a Javan hawk-eagle (called a garuda). The garuda is holding a strip of paper that reads: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (“Unity in Diversity” from Javanese). These words are the national motto of Indonesia.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Pancasila Day

Indonesia Highlighted on a Map

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article!

  • Kebangsaan — “Nationality” [n.]
  • Negara — “Country” [n.]
  • Ideologi — “Ideology” [n.]
  • Sarasehan — “Gathering” [n.]
  • Lima Asas Pancasila — “Five Principles of Pancasila”
  • Pedoman — “Guidance” [n.]
  • Peringatan — “Commemoration” [n.]
  • Kerukunan — “Harmony” [n.]
  • Berjuang — “Battle” [v.]
  • Penjajahan — “Colonization” [n.]
  • Dasar negara — “National principle”

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase listed above, be sure to visit our Indonesian Pancasila Day vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Pancasila Day with us, and that you took away some valuable information about Indonesian culture.

What are the Five Principles of Pancasila? Do you remember? Leave us your answer in the comments, and let us know your thoughts on this holiday!

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