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Idul Adha in Indonesia – Sacrifice and Charity

Indonesians are known for their kind and patient nature, and this is even more pronounced during the Muslim holiday of Idul Adha (or Eid ul-Adha, Festival of Sacrifice) each year. Faith, charity, time with loved ones, and great food all come together on Idul Adha, one of the most important days on the Islamic calendar

In this article, you’ll learn some useful information about Eid ul-Adha in Indonesia, including its origin and how people celebrate today. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Idul Adha?

A Lamb about to be sacrificed

Idul Adha, often called “The Feast of the Sacrifice” in English, is one of the most important Muslim holidays worldwide. 

It originates from the story of Ibrahim, who was willing to sacrifice his son Ismael. According to the Quran, Ibrahim had asked Allah to give him a son, and Allah did so. But as Ismael grew older, Ibrahim began having recurring dreams of slaughtering his son and realized it was an order from Allah to sacrifice his son. Upon Ibrahim telling his son this, Ismael told his father to do as Allah willed. Ibrahim prepared his son for the sacrifice and was about to slaughter him, but was stopped by a voice. This voice told him that the “vision” had already been completed. Ibrahim was given a lamb to sacrifice in Ismael’s place, and Ismael was revealed to be a righteous prophet.

Today, the Muslim celebration of this holiday focuses on selflessness and serves as a reminder that Allah blesses the faithful. Idul Adha is also associated with the willingness to give up cherished possessions to glorify Allah.

    → See our vocabulary list on Religion to learn the names of different religions in Indonesian! 

2. When is Idul Adha This Year?

The date of Idul Adha varies each year on the Gregorian calendar, as it takes place on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The holiday then lasts for roughly three days. 

Here’s a list of this holiday’s tentative start date for the next ten years.

YearStart Date
2020July 31
2021July 20
2022July 10
2023June 29
2024June 17
2025June 7
2026May 27
2027May 17
2028May 6
2029April 24

Note that these dates may not be entirely accurate, and may vary. The date of Idul Adha is officially determined each year by professional moon-sighters, and the dates above are only expected estimates.

3. Idul Adha Observations & Traditions

Muslims Praying at a Mosque

On Idul Adha, Indonesian Muslims gather together at a masjid (“mosque”) to say Eid prayers and offer each other Eid ul-Adha greetings. In addition, people may grace their fellow Muslims with Eid ul-Adha wishes for their wellbeing. It’s common to wear nice, traditional clothing for this event.

In light of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son—and Allah’s provision of a lamb to sacrifice in Ismael’s place—most Muslim families in Indonesia are expected to perform an animal penyembelihan (“slaughter”). It’s customary to divide the daging (“meat”) of the animal into three portions: one portion to give to the poor, one portion to take home to one’s family, and one portion to give to friends and other relatives. 

It’s important to note that this sacrifice is not made as an atonement for sins, and it’s said that the blood and meat of the animal do not reach Allah at all. Rather, the sacrifice is more about charity in giving to those who otherwise wouldn’t have meat to enjoy on the holiday. This act of selflessness pleases Allah.  

The Eid ul-Adha holiday in Indonesia is known for its lavish meat-based feasts, which are made from the meat of the sacrifice. Two favorite dishes are sate kambing (“mutton satay”) and gulai kambing (“mutton gulai”), though there are a variety of other menu options! 

4. The Animals

Mutton Satay

In Jakarta, it’s not uncommon to find the streets dotted with animal pens as Idul Adha gets nearer! These pens contain goats and cows to be sold to families for slaughtering.

According to Islam, any animal that’s sacrificed must be both full-grown and in good condition, otherwise the sacrifice will be ignored. 

5. Essential Vocabulary for Celebrating Idul Adha

A Goat against a White Background

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

  • “Meat” — Daging [n.]
  • “Mosque” —  Masjid [n.]
  • “Goat” — Kambing [n.]
  • “Cow” — Sapi [n.]
  • “Mutton” — Daging kambing [n.]
  • “Kurban” — Kurban [n.] – a sacrifice to God made from a living thing
  • “Eid prayers” — Salat Id [v.]
  • “Abraham prophet” — Nabi Ibrahim 
  • “The poor” — Fakir Miskin
  • “Mutton satay” — Sate kambing [n.]
  • “Hajj’s Lebaran” — Lebaran haji [n.]
  • “Mecca” — Mekkah 
  • “Slaughter” — Penyembelihan [n.]
  • “Mutton gulai” — Gulai kambing [n.]

Remember that you can find each of these words with an audio pronunciation on our Indonesian Idul Adha vocabulary list

Final Thoughts

The importance of Eid ul-Adha in Indonesia can’t be overstated. This is a time for fellow Muslims to get together for a sole purpose, help those in need, and reaffirm their faith. 

What are your thoughts on Indonesia’s Idul Adha celebrations? Is there a similar holiday in your country or faith? Let us know in the comments! 

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Stay safe out there, and happy Indonesian learning.

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