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Archive for the 'Indonesian Holidays' Category

Indonesian Remembrance Day: Hero’s Day in Indonesia

On National Heroes’ Day, Indonesians commemorate and honor all those who lost their lives in their 1945 battle against the British. Many people on both sides lost their lives, but in the end, Indonesia was able to remain free from Dutch colonial rule. This day is sometimes referred to as Warriors Day or National Hero Day.

In this article, you’ll learn about the history of Heroes’ Day in Indonesia, how Indonesians observe it today, and some practical holiday vocabulary!

At, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Heroes’ Day in Indonesia?

On Indonesian Heroes’ Day, Indonesians commemorate the deaths of 16,000 Indonesian and 2,000 British soldiers in a three-week-long bloody battle. This battle resulted from Indonesia’s resistance to British efforts of returning Indonesia to the Dutch.

The battle of November 10, 1945 was triggered by the death of Brigadier Mallaby, an accident that could have been avoided. However, the British government reacted by sending 24,000 soldiers to occupy Indonesia. The Battle of Surabaya was acknowledged by the British as the hardest war after World War II, and it was marked by two generals, three British war aircraft, and thousands of British soldiers.

2. When is Indonesian Heroes’ Day?

Heroes’ Day Statue

Each year, Indonesians celebrate Heroes’ Day on November 10.

3. Celebrations & Traditions for Heroes’ Day in Indonesia

Kalibata Heroes Cemetery

Every November 10, each house in Indonesia displays the red and white flag half-mast. All members of society pray for the spirits of the national heroes and meditate for sixty seconds all at once at 8:15 local time. The President of Indonesia leads a national visit to the complex of Taman Makam Pahlawan Kalibata, Jakarta, which is followed by a flower sowing procession. On that day, the President also announces the granting of the National Hero title at the Istana Negara.

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, the commemoration is held on the deck of KRI Kerapu, a warship of the Indonesian National Army Navy. Seven miles off the LANTAMAL VI floating dock, after the ceremony, participants drift a flower bouquet consisting of the three forces of the Indonesian National Army and the Indonesian National Police.

In Solo, Central Java, Heroes’ Day is commemorated in a lively way. The historic steam train Sepur Kluthuk Jala Dara, filled with old and young residents alike wearing freedom fighters’ costumes, travels around Solo city. It’s not just that; Jalan Slamet Riyadi becomes the center of the celebration by the expansion of a giant red and white flag that measures 4 x 6 meters. The commemoration, which falls on the same day as car-free day, enables the meditation and the flag ceremony to be held in the middle of the main street of Solo city.

4. The British Soldiers

Why were the British soldiers in Indonesia at that time?

After losing the war, the Japanese had to get out of the occupied countries, including Indonesia. The British soldiers then came to Indonesia to disarm the Japanese soldiers, to free the Japanese prisoners of war, to discharge the Japanese soldiers, and finally to return power over Indonesia to the Dutch.

5. Essential Heroes’ Day Indonesian Vocabulary

Shirt of Indonesian Flag

Here’s the essential vocabulary you need to know for Heroes’ Day in Indonesia!

  • Hari Pahlawan
    “Heroes’ Day”
  • Pertempuran
  • Jasa
  • Upacara peringatan
    “Memorial ceremony”
  • Penjajah
  • Insiden
  • Konflik
  • Perjuangan
  • Bambu runcing
    “Sharpened bamboo”
  • Taman Makam Pahlawan Kalibata
    “Kalibata Heroes Cemetery”
  • Lomba orasi
    “Speech contest”

To hear each of these words pronounced, and to see them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Indonesian Heroes’ Day vocabulary list!


We hope you enjoyed learning about National Heroes’ Day in Indonesia with us, and that you were able to take away something valuable.

Learning about a country’s culture and history may be the most exciting and enriching aspects of trying to master a language. If you enjoyed this article and want to keep delving into Indonesian culture, you may find the following pages interesting:

Does your country have a similar day for remembering and honoring those fallen in battle? Let us know in the comments!

Learning a new language is a difficult task, but at IndonesianPod101, we believe that you really can master Indonesian. And we’ll be here with help and encouragement on each step of your language-learning journey!

Happy Heroes’ Day, Indonesia!

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How to Celebrate Batik Day in Indonesia

Indonesia celebrates national Batik Day each year in appreciation and admiration of the art of coloring clothing and other textiles via the Indonesian batik method, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage culture. In this article, you’ll learn more about what the unique Indonesian batik is, how Indonesians celebrate it, and why. In learning about this holiday, you’re gaining much insight into the rich culture and history of Indonesia—and we’re sure you’ll find the more familiar you are with Indonesian culture, the more fascinating the language will become!

At, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative! We think you’ll soon agree that National Batik Day fits the bill.

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1. What is Batik Day?

The commemoration of Batik Day in Indonesia is still new; it was stipulated by the President in 2009. This stipulation was enacted once UNESCO officially admitted Indonesian Batik as a world heritage culture. UNESCO includes batik in the List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The stipulation of National Batik Day is a government effort to increase the Indonesian nation’s dignity and its positive image in international forums, and to grow the pride and love of the society for Indonesian culture.

Batik is a textile coloring technique using wax material. Most of the wax is obtained from the excretion of plants, in the form of damar (coniferous timber) or resin. Animal sources of wax include wasp and bee hives. The only batik coming from Sumatra Island is Minangkabau Batik, in which the coloring technique uses clay. The fabric is first soaked in clay for a week, then it is washed and other natural colors from plants are applied.

Batik Pekalongan has now been recorded by the Guiness Book as the biggest batik. It is made on a fabric 1,000 meters long and worked by 1,000 batik artisans on the main highway of Pekalongan City.

2. When is Batik Day in Indonesia?

Indonesian Child

Each year, Indonesians celebrate Batik Day on October 2.

3. Batik Day Celebrations & Traditions

Batik Fashion Show

On National Batik Day, Indonesia holds various annual batik festivals in several provinces. One of the most famous programs is Festival Batik Solo (Solo Batik Festival) that is in the form of a batik parade on the main street of the city.

This Batik Day Indonesia activity, which began in 2008, had approximately 250 instant models participating, parading a distance of 4.2 kilometers (about two and a half miles) wearing various batik creations. Batik patterns are not only painted on fabrics, but also on everything from tarps, nets, papers, CDs, plastic glasses, balloons, and chicken feathers. Batik Day celebrated in Indonesia is certainly a colorful and intriguing spectacle!

4. What Does Batik Mean?

Do you know the meaning of the word batik?

The word batik comes from the Javanese word amba, which means “writing,” and titik, which means “dot.” In other words, membatik is writing a series of dots to form a beautiful pattern.

5. Essential Vocabulary for Batik Day in Indonesia

Making Something By Hand

Here’s the vocabulary you’re going to need for Batik Day in Indonesia!

  • Hari Batik — “Batik Day”
  • Kebudayaan — “Culture”
  • Malam — “Wax”
  • Karnaval Batik Solo — “Solo Batik Carnival”
  • Pameran batik — “Batik exhibition”
  • Peragaan busana batik — “Batik fashion show”
  • Lomba membatik — “Batik-making contest”
  • Desain — “Design”
  • Kerajinan — “Handicraft”
  • Canting — “Canting”
  • Batik cap — “Batik cap

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, visit our Batik Day vocabulary list. Here, you can find each vocabulary word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation, and with a relevant image.

How IndonesianPod101 Can Teach You About Indonesian Culture

Isn’t Batik Day a differently fun holiday? Does your country have a holiday celebrating a unique aspect of its culture and heritage? Let us know about it in the comments below; we always look forward to hearing from you!

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Celebrating Indonesian Independence Day

Indonesian Independence Day is the most important holiday in the country, celebrated countrywide and even by Indonesians currently overseas. On Independence Day, Indonesians commemorate the signing and reading of its Declaration of Independence in 1945, freeing it from a long and terrible Dutch colonial period.

Learn about the history of Indonesian Independence day with, and make your language-learning that much more meaningful.

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1. History of Indonesian Independence Day

Indonesia Independence Day is the celebration of when the country’s Declaration of Independence was signed and read in 1945. This text contains a declaration that the islands in the Archipelago unite into one sovereign country, thus rejecting the Dutch colonization.

This Dutch colonization was known at the time as The Dutch East Indies, and it was founded in the early 1800s (though the Dutch actually had influence on what is now Indonesia since about the year 1600).

While this colonization did have a few positive effects on the Indonesian people, such as allowing them to gain market insight, giving them the opportunity to learn a foreign language, and introducing them to new technologies, the overall experience was negative. Indonesians were forced into labor, given poor wages, and many even starved to death. This led to the development of the Indonesian Declaration of Independence, which finally separated Indonesia from its Dutch colonialism.

2. When is Independence Day in Indonesia?

Indonesian Flag

The Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia falls on August 17, the day when Soekarno and Hatta signed and read the Declaration of Independence in 1945.

3. Indonesian Independence Day Celebrations

Having a Sack Race

Independence Day is usually filled with traditional game competitions in villages and cities across the whole archipelago. These activities are meant to establish unity and foster kinship.

The most popular game is panjat pinang (climbing the slippery pole). People jostle to climb the pole, which has been smeared with lubricant, to reach the presents at the top. This game invites laughter, because the participants usually slip and fall onto the participants below.

Similar to panjat pinang, people in Pekalongan, Central Java, have a tradition of not climbing the pole, but walking on it. This tradition is called meniti pucang (walking on pucang or pinang). The pole is positioned horizontally on the river, and the participant who walks on it the longest wins. In this case, the losing participants fall into the river.

Banjar has yet another different tradition. For generations, the residents have upheld the ngubyag balong tradition of catching fish in a pond. Equipped with nets, baskets, and sacks, hundreds of residents get ready to go into the pool. Before the fishing begins, residents and local public figures hold a prayer for the goodness of the Indonesian nation. After that, they go into the pool and scramble to catch the quintal (100 kilograms or about 220 pounds) of free fish in it.

As expects, Indonesians show their pride and love for their country by hoisting the Indonesian flag. And celebrations aren’t limited to those living in Indonesia—Indonesians who are currently overseas can celebrate their country by visiting their embassies around the world.

4. What Else is Indonesia Independence Day Called?

Indonesians have two other popular names for their Independence Day: 17 Agustusan (referring to the holiday’s August 17 date) and Tujuhbelasan, which refers to all activities held in the spirit of celebrating Independence Day.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Indonesian Independence Day

Tumpeng Dish

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Indonesian Independence Day!

  • Televisi — “Television”
  • Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan R.I. — “Independence Day”
  • Kembang api — “Firework”
  • Nasi Tumpeng — “Tumpeng”
  • Tarik tambang — “Tug of war”
  • Bendera merah putih — “The red-and-white flag”
  • Lomba panjat pinang — “The pole climbing contest”
  • Lomba balap karung — “Sack race”
  • Lomba makan kerupuk — “Krupuk race-eating contest”
  • Upacara bendera — “Flag-raising ceremony”
  • Hormat! — “Salute!”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Indonesian Independence Day vocabulary list!

Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Master Indonesian

We hope you enjoyed learning about Indonesian Independence Day with us, and that you took away something valuable from this lesson. When did Indonesia gain independence, and who did Indonesia gain independence from? Let us know in the comments, and while you’re at it, tell us a little about your own country’s Independence or National day!

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July 23: How to Celebrate Children’s Day in Indonesia

Each year, Indonesia observes National Children’s Day (or more informally, National Kids Day). This is a day for Indonesians to remember the importance and indispensability of children for the country’s future, and the future of the world. Furthermore, Children’s Day is a good time to reflect on education in Indonesia, as well as children’s rights in Indonesia. Another benefit of realizing children’s potential on this day is urging an end to child exploitation in Indonesia.

In learning about National Children’s Day, you’re allowing yourself a better glance at Indonesian culture, family values in Indonesia, and even the family system in Indonesia! Understanding a country’s culture is one of the most important steps in mastering its language, and at, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is National Children’s Day in Indonesia?

National Children’s Day is an important national day that has been commemorated since 1986. National Children’s Day was the idea of the late Soeharto, the second president of the Republic of Indonesia, who regarded children as assets for the nation’s development.

2. When is National Children’s Day in Indonesia?

Little Child Smiling

So, when is Children’s Day? In 1984, the Indonesian Government assigned July 23 as National Children’s Day, and Indonesia still observes it on this date.

3. Reading Practice: How is National Children’s Day Celebrated?

Parents Holding Child

How do Indonesians celebrate their National Children’s Day? Read the Indonesian text below to learn about Children’s Day traditions, and what to expect! You can find the English translation directly below it.

Rangkaian peringatan Hari Anak Nasional biasanya telah dipersiapkan satu tahun sebelumnya oleh segenap komponen bangsa (Kementerian, Lembaga Pemerintah, swasta dan masyarakat) baik di pusat, propinsi, kabupaten/kota dan Perwakilan RI di Luar Negeri. Hal ini menunjukan keseriusan pemerintah dalam membina aset terpenting bangsa, yaitu anak.

Karnaval anak nusantara menjadi kegiatan yang tidak pernah absen dalam peringatan Hari Anak Nasional. Melalui karnaval ini, anak-anak diperkenalkan dengan berbagai suku bangsa dan adat budaya yang hidup di Indonesia. Anak-anak berbaris berpasang-pasangan sambil memperagakan pakaian daerah dari berbagai propinsi. Sementara itu di sisi jalan, penonton berdesakan menonton dan memberi semangat kepada para peragawan cilik. Karnaval ini juga dimeriahkan oleh marching band tingkat TK, tari-tarian tradisional, hingga shalawat rebana.

Festival permainan tradisional juga digelar untuk menghidupkan kembali permainan tradisional di era digital. Walaupun kini akrab dengan permainan digital modern, anak-anak tetap tertarik untuk mencoba berbagai permainan tradisional seperti jamuran, enggrang, gobak sodor, tekongan, dan petak umpet. Jenis-jenis permainan ini menanamkan nilai-nilai kerja sama kepada anak.

Salah satu permainan tradisional adalah lomba sepeda lambat. Berlawanan dengan balap sepeda, siapa yang paling terakhir sampai di garis akhir adalah pemenangnya. Tentu saja peserta yang jatuh di tengah jalan harus gugur.

The events for National Children’s Day commemoration are usually prepared in the preceding year by all segments of the nation (the Ministry, Governmental Institutions, the private sector, and society) at the central, the provincial, the regency/city governmental levels, as well as by the Indonesian Representatives Abroad. This shows the government’s seriousness in fostering the most important asset to the nation, which is children.

The Archipelago Children’s Carnival is never missed in the commemoration of National Children’s Day. Through this carnival, children are introduced to various ethnic groups and indigenous cultures living in Indonesia. The children march in couples exhibiting regional apparel from various provinces. Meanwhile, on the side of the road, the spectators crowd to watch and cheer the junior models. This carnival is also livened up by a kindergarten marching band, and the traditional dances to the Rebana Shalawat performance.

A traditional games festival is also held to revive traditional games in this digital era. Although modern digital games are more familiar, children are also attracted to trying various traditional games, such as jamuran, enggrang (stilts), gobak sodor, tekongan, and petak umpet (hide and seek). These games instill the value of cooperation in children.

One of these traditional games is the slow bicycle race. Unlike a usual bicycle race, whoever reaches the finish line last is the winner. Of course, the participants who fall along the track are dismissed.

4. My Balloon

Do you know what the most popular Indonesian children’s song is?

The answer is the Balonku (My Balloon) song. Here are the lyrics:

I have five balloons / All sorts of colors / Green, yellow, gray / Pink and blue / The green balloon explodes POP! / My heart is very disturbed (or confused) / I have four balloons left / I hold them tight.

5. Useful Vocabulary to Know for Indonesian Children’s Day

Cut-out Figures Under Cut-out Umbrella

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for National Children’s Day in Indonesia!

  • Hadiah — “Present”
  • Pendidikan — “Education”
  • Keluarga — “Family”
  • Hari Anak Nasional — “National Children Day”
  • Orang tua — “Parents”
  • Hak — “Right”
  • Kesejahteraan — “Welfare”
  • Prestasi — “Achievement”
  • Yatim piatu — “Orphan”
  • Eksploitasi — “Exploitation”
  • Kesetaraan — “Equality”
  • Perlombaan — “Contest”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Indonesian National Children’s Day vocabulary list.


We hope you enjoyed learning about National Children’s Day in Indonesia with us! Did you learn anything new? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Indonesian culture and the language, visit us at! We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools, including free Indonesian vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one. On our website, you can also chat with fellow Indonesian learners on our community forums, and with a Premium Plus account you can begin using our MyTeacher program!

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Ascension Day of Jesus Christ in Indonesia

Indonesians celebrate Ascension Day, one of the most significant Christian holidays, each year with an array of traditions. The most notable traditions may be those surrounding the Cathedral Church (Jakarta), though celebrations for this Indonesia holiday do go beyond this. In this article, we’ll be going over celebrations as well as Ascension Day meaning in Indonesia.

By learning about Indonesian culture, including the most significant Indonesian holidays, you’re opening yourself up to a greater comprehension of the country and its language. In turn, this will greatly improve your Indonesian language skills as you learn it in context of a greater, more vivid picture. And at, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Ascension Day in Indonesia?

1- The Basics

Kenaikan Isa Almasih or Ascension Day is one of the important days of the Christian tradition that is celebrated forty days after Easter. According to the New Testament, on the 40th day after the resurrection, Jesus brought his disciples to the Mount of Olives to see Him go into heaven.

The Ascension Day of Isa Almasih is commonly mentioned as the Ascension Day of Jesus Christ by Christians. Isa Almasih is the title given to Jesus Christ in Al-Quran. Isa is “Jesus” in Arabic and Masih is “Messiah” in Arabic.

2- Is Ascension Thursday a Holy Day of Obligation?

So, is the Ascension a holy day of obligation? This is a common question regarding Ascension Thursday in Indonesia.

The answer is “yes.” This indicates that Indonesian Catholics are expected to go to the Mass service on this day at a Christ Cathedral (Jakarta or elsewhere).

2. When is Ascension Day?


The date of Ascension Day varies from year to year, as it is the fortieth day of Easter. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: May 30
  • 2020: May 21
  • 2021: May 13
  • 2022: May 26
  • 2023: May 18
  • 2024: May 9
  • 2025: May 29
  • 2026: May 14
  • 2027: May 6
  • 2028: May 25

3. Reading Practice: Indonesian Ascension Day Traditions

Taking Communion

How do Indonesians celebrate Ascension Day? Find out by reading the Indonesian text below, and find the English translation below it.

Tradisi yang lazim dilakukan oleh umat Kristen pada hari ini adalah ziarah makam. Sejak subuh, taman pemakaman umum sudah mulai dipenuhi orang yang ingin berziarah ke makam keluarga dan leluhur yang sudah meninggal dunia. Kesempatan ini dipakai untuk mendoakan arwah keluarga kepada Yesus dengan harapan agar mereka naik ke surga, sama seperti Kristus. Setelah berdoa, mereka melakukan prosesi tabur bunga di atas pusara.

Pada hari ini pun, umat Kristen menghadiri misa dan kebaktian di gereja. Kelompok-kelompok gereja, seperti kelompok pemuda dan anak-anak sekolah minggu, juga sering menggunakan hari libur ini untuk mengadakan kegiatan sosial yang diwarnai oleh semangat kenaikan Isa Almasih.

Libur nasional ini jatuh pada hari Kamis setiap tahunnya. Kesempatan ini digunakan oleh banyak orang yang tidak merayakan untuk berakhir pekan yang panjang dengan mengambil cuti di hari kejepit, yaitu hari Jumat, dan berjalan-jalan ke luar kota bersama keluarga.

The common tradition performed by the Christian on this day is visiting grave sites. From dawn, the public cemetery is crowded with people visiting the dead ancestors’ and family members’ graves. This opportunity is used to pray for the family members’ spirit to Jesus with the hope that they go to heaven, just like Christ. After praying, they continue with the procession of flower sowing on the grave.

On that day, Christians attend mass and service in church. The church groups, such as the youth group and the Sunday school students often use this holiday to hold social activities that are colored by the spirit of Ascension of Jesus Christ.

This public holiday is celebrated on Thursday each year. This opportunity is used by many people who don’t celebrate it to have a long weekend by taking leave on Friday, the day squeezed in between (or “sandwiched”), and having a trip out of town with the family.

4. Sunday School Activities for Ascension Day

What activities are often conducted by Sunday school students on the Ascension Day of Jesus Christ?

Usually Sunday school students attend a service in the classroom. In welcoming the Ascension of Jesus Christ, they conduct the service on the hilly land to appreciate the event of the ascension of Jesus into heaven. Another way to appreciate it is by releasing balloons into the air.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Indonesian Ascension Day

Image of Heaven

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Ascension Day in Indonesia!

  • Alkitab — “Bible”
  • Gereja Katedral Jakarta — “Jakarta Cathedral”
  • Misa — “Mass”
  • Surga — “Heaven”
  • Bukit Zaitun — “Mount of Olives”
  • Ekaristi — “Eucharist”
  • Pastor — “Pastor”
  • Injil — “Gospel”
  • Gereja — “Church
  • Umat — “Community”
  • Ibadah — “Worship”
  • Komuni — “Communion”

If you want to hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Ascension Day in Indonesia vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.


Do you celebrate Ascension in your own country? If so, are celebrations similar or different from those in Indonesia? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about culture and holidays in Indonesia, visit us at Here, we have something for every learner and every learner can master the language and culture of Indonesia with our array of learning tools! Through insightful blog posts like this one, free vocabulary lists, and an online community forum, we hope to make your Indonesian learning experience both fun and informative! Also check out the features of our MyTeacher program, and consider upgrading to a Premium Plus account to take advantage of this one-on-one learning opportunity.

Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Indonesian like a native before you know it!

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How to Say Happy New Year in Indonesian & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Indonesian New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join IndonesianPod101 for a special Indonesian New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Indonesian

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Indonesian? Let a native teach you! At IndonesianPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Indonesian New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Indonesia
  2. Must-Know Indonesian Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Indonesian
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn Indonesian

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Indonesian New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Indonesia

New Year’s Day, which falls on January 1, is the day that marks the turning of the solar year in Indonesia. Like in other countries, New Year’s Day is celebrated in various ways in Indonesia.

Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

Do you know how many times in one night the Indonesian people count down to the New Year?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep reading.

On New Year’s Eve, most Indonesian people love to be outside of the house, in Indonesian rumah, gathering together in centers of activity. There are also many who like to drive, which means that road congestion is often inevitable. In Jakarta, vehicles have great difficulty passing through roads near the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout as it’s always a hotspot for people to gather. Ancol Beach is also a favorite place to wait for the last seconds of the turning of the year, or tahun. In Yogyakarta, Malioboro is a very popular spot to hang out while eating gudeg, a sweet-savory dish consisting of rice, vegetables, and poultry all cooked in coconut milk. Trumpets, or terompet, sell well on New Year’s Eve, and when the year changes, the trumpets blare.

More traditional communities celebrate the new year with spiritual activities, gathering at home with family to pray. Christians begin the new year by worshiping at their church, or gereja. The turning of the solar year is especially important for Christians, who begin the new year with a special mass or church service.

Various year-end event packages are also offered by hotels and tourist spots at extravagant prices. More economical enjoyments may take place in an empty field with an offering of dangdut music, a genre of music originating from the Arabic gambus, and which is played with a single organ and a female singer. With this single organ, the public dances dangdut into the early morning while enjoying a type of savory fried food, instant coffee, and Indonesian ginger tea provided by street vendors, in Indonesian called pedagang kaki lima.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

Do you know how many times in one night the Indonesian people count down to the New Year?

The answer is three times. Indonesia has three different time zones. Jakarta, the capital of the country, is located in the last time zone to enter the new year.

Happy New Year!
Selamat Tahun Baru!

2. Must-Know Indonesian Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Indonesian Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Indonesia could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

tengah malam

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

hari tahun baru

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party


A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing


Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne


Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

kembang api

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

Happy Near Year!

8- Countdown

hitung mundur

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Liburan Tahun Baru

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti


In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Malam Tahun Baru

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast


A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution


Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade


New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At IndonesianPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Indonesian New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the Indonesian word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at IndonesianPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Indonesian friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Lebih banyak membaca.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Indonesian in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Indonesian language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Meluangkan waktu lebih banyak dengan keluarga.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

Menurunkan berat badan.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money


Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to IndonesianPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Berhenti merokok.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Mempelajari sesuatu yang baru.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Mengurangi minum-minum.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Berolahraga secara teratur.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Makan makanan yang sehat.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Indonesian with IndonesianPod101

Belajar bahasa Indonesia dengan

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Indonesian, especially with us! Learning how to speak Indonesian can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. IndonesianPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Indonesian new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Indonesian, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Indonesian incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with IndonesianPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Indonesian could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Indonesian - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Indonesian - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with IndonesianPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Indonesian! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that IndonesianPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Indonesian at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Indonesian that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Indonesian with IndonesianPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian

How to Say Merry Christmas in Indonesian

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian? IndonesianPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Indonesian Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Indonesian speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, IndonesianPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Indonesia
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Indonesia

Christmas Words in Indonesian

Christmas, or the birthday of Jesus Christ, is celebrated on December 25 in almost all parts of the world, including Indonesia. The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house, pilgrimages to ancestral graves, and visiting family are all traditions commonly observed by Christians all over Indonesia.

Let’s talk about the massive Christmas celebrations in the province with a Christian-majority population. The North Sulawesi province.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

What percentage of the Indonesian population celebrates Christmas?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep reading.

During the month of December, the government of Manado City in North Sulawesi holds a Christmas safari, or Safari Natal. During the Christmas safari, they visit different cities to have meet-and-greet events and worship with members of the community. As preparation for Christmas, residents of Manado also parade through the city and carry out the tradition of visiting family graves, in Indonesian called ziarah, in which family graves are cleaned and decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas festivities end in the first week of January with the Kunci Taon tradition, in which people parade around town wearing funny, socially themed costumes, or in Indonesian, kostum.

In South Sulawesi, in the area of Toraja, local authorities hold Lovely December, an annual festival of culture and tourism. The event starts at the beginning of December and is characterized by the slaughter of spotted buffalo, or kerbau. This series of festivals includes a carnival, a Christmas bazaar, buffalo contests, artistic performances, exhibitions, handicrafts, and culinary exhibitions. The festival culminates on December 26 with a procession called lettoan, a parade contest of pigs dressed with Toraja Tribe cultural symbols.

In Kampung Tugu, an area located in Jakarta, the locals perform Rabo-rabo, a tradition passed down from soldiers of Portuguese descent who settled in Jakarta. Not exactly on Christmas Day, but right at the beginning of the year, residents will visit homes singing songs in keroncong, a music genre that originates from Portuguese music. The songs sung are Christmas songs, but what is unique is that those who are visited will usually join in the singing and accompany the singers to the next house.

Sending parcels, or hantaran, is a tradition of the Indonesian people in times of celebration. During the time of Eid, Muslims traditionally send diamond-shaped packed rice to neighbors. Around Christmas time, Christians return the gift by sending parcels in the form of pastries.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What percentage of the Indonesian population celebrates Christmas?

Around ten percent of Indonesia’s population is Christian. Thus, there are only a few places that hold big celebrations.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Selamat hari Natal!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Selamat Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Selamat Tahun Baru, semoga bahagia selalu!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Selamat Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Selamat berliburan musim dingin!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Sampai jumpa tahun depan!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Salam hangat!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Indonesian Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Selamat liburan!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Indonesian, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Nikmatilah liburan!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Semoga sukses di tahun yang baru!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Indonesian! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At IndonesianPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Hari Natal

This is the Indonesian word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Indonesian will include this word!

2- Snow


In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

bunga salju

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

manusia salju

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey


Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

rangkaian bunga bundar

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

rusa kutub

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus


Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf


An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph si rusa kutub berhidung merah

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Kutub Utara

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

kereta luncur

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present


Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell


On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

cerobong asap

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace


In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Hari Natal

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration


Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking


According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly


Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

rumah gingerbread

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

permen tongkat

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe


Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Indonesian, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Indonesian! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. IndonesianPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit IndonesianPod101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Indonesian for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Indonesian, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, IndonesianPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Indonesian. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in IndonesianPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!