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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning


Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Indonesian quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Indonesian tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of and myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. IndonesianPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

A woman studying at home

Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Indonesian teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by in Feature Spotlight, Indonesian Language, Indonesian Online, Learn Indonesian, Site Features, Speak Indonesian, Team IndonesianPod101

Celebrating the Islamic New Year in Indonesia

A New Year’s celebration in summer? Yep! 

In Indonesia, and other predominantly Islamic countries, Muslims celebrate the Islamic New Year instead of the more popular Gregorian New Year that you’re probably used to. Muslims celebrate their New Year according to the Islamic calendar, which began around the same time that the Islam religion did. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about this holiday in Indonesia and pick up some useful vocabulary at the same time. Let’s get started!

  Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Indonesian

1. What is Islamic New Year in Indonesia?

Islamic New Year

The Islamic New Year, or Tahun Baru Hijriyah, commemorates the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, as well as the founding of Islam

It’s said that the Prophet Muhammad was given a mission from Allah to teach Islam the world over. The Prophet began this mission by going to Mecca, where he and his followers taught Islam to the local people. But due to hostilities and a divine message from Allah, Muhammad and his followers performed what’s known as the Hijrah (“Hijra”), leaving Mecca for Medina. 

On the Islamic New Year, Indonesian Muslims in Bengkulu also remember the death of Husein bin Ali Bin Abi Thalib. This was Muhammad’s grandson, who died in an Iraqi battle in 680 AD during the Islamic month of Muharram.

    → Are you fascinated with religions? Check out our Religion vocabulary list to see the names of different religions in Indonesian! 

2. When is Islamic New Year?

A Calendar

The Islamic New Year marks the first day of the first month in the Hijri year, called Muharram. In the Islamic kalender (“calendar”) system, each new day begins at sunset, and dates are determined by lunar rotation. 

For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s tentative date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years. 

  • 2020: August 20
  • 2021: August 10
  • 2022: July 31
  • 2023: July 19
  • 2024: July 7
  • 2025: June 26
  • 2026: June 16
  • 2027: June 6
  • 2028: May 25 
  • 2029: May 14

Note that the dates listed here are only estimates based on when moon sightings are expected to be, so the actual dates may vary slightly. In addition, the date can vary a bit from one country to another. 

3. How is Islamic New Year Celebrated?

A Lit Torch for a Procession

In Indonesia, Islamic New Year traditions vary from region to region. In fact, some of these traditions are unique to Indonesia and won’t be found in other Islamic countries. 

Islamic New Year celebrations in Indonesia tend to focus on general commemoration, the doing of good deeds, and praying for good things to come. Popular dua of Islamic New Year are those asking Allah for protection from the devil, overall safety, and peace. On the first day of the Islamic New Year, fasting is encouraged; that said, it’s considered more important to fast during Ashura, a few days later. 

Perhaps the most notable Islamic New Year tradition takes place in Solo. Here, the New Year is rung in by watching a pawai (“parade”) called the Kirab 1 Sura (or “The Royal Procession of the 1st of Sura”). During this parade, onlookers will see not only a procession of heirlooms from the Surakarta Sunanate, but also a herd of albino buffalo being led by courtiers. These buffalo are considered sacred, and onlookers will go out of their way to touch one of them, believing that doing so will bring them good fortune and blessings.

In Yogyakarta, Indonesian Muslims perform an offering known as Upacara Sedekah Laut (“The Sea Offering Ritual”). This Islamic New Year food offering is done out of gratitude, and takes place in the popular tourist destination of Baron Beach. People push produce (such as fruits, vegetables, and rice) out to sea, as well as traditional cakes and even a goat or buffalo head. It’s thought that doing so will ensure the safety of fishermen. 

Still other areas in Indonesia perform an obor (“torch”) parade. This parade consists of communal prayer, a procession of Muslims carrying torches, and traditional Islamic music and dancing. This tradition is quite exciting in that Muslims from all walks of life can and do participate—Muslim scholars celebrate alongside commoners, children, and students. 

4. The Islamic Calendar

Night and Day

Do you know how many hari (“days”) there are per month, and per year, in the Islamic calendar?

As mentioned, the Islamic calendar is lunar-based (compared to the solar-based Gregorian calendar). As such, each Islamic year has approximately eleven fewer days per year than the Gregorian calendar does. 

In the Islamic calendar, there can be either 354 or 355 days in one year, and 29 or 30 days in a month. 

    → We have a blog article all about Dates in Indonesia. Learn how to talk your way around the calendar like a native! 

5. Essential Vocabulary for the Islamic New Year

Words Written in a Notebook

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

  • Hari – “Day”
  • Waktu – “Time”
  • Kalender – “Calendar”
  • Hijrah – “Hijra”
  • Tahun Baru Hijriyah – “Islamic New Year”
  • Penuh dosa – “Sinful”
  • Dalil – “Proposition”
  • Amalan – “Good deed”
  • Obor – “Torch”
  • Pawai – “Parade”

Remember that you can visit our Indonesian Islamic New Year vocabulary list to study these words further, listen to their pronunciation, and add them to your flashcard deck. 

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Islamic New Year? How do traditions and celebrations compare to New Year celebrations in your country? Let us know in the comments! 

If you would like to learn more about Indonesian culture and holidays, has a special blog archive dedicated to those topics, so be sure to check it out. And to continue learning this beautiful language, why not start with some vocabulary lists on your favorite topics? 

We hope to see you around. 😉

Happy Islamic New Year from the team!

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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! 

To continue learning about Indonesian culture and the language, check out these free resources from the blog:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn Indonesian or explore Indonesian culture, know that IndonesianPod101 has your back. Create your free lifetime account today, and take advantage of our numerous learning tools: themed vocabulary lists, spaced-repetition flashcards, video and audio lessons, and so much more! 

Stay safe out there, and happy Indonesian learning.

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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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Indonesian Body Language from Head to Toe


Have you ever seen those articles or vlogs that say things like “10 Things NEVER to do in Indonesia!”

The ones with a big red X over a surprised-looking foreigner in the thumbnail?

They kind of scare you, don’t they?

You might worry that if there are so many things you can’t do in a foreign country, you might have to walk on eggshells to avoid offending people. What if you screw up with your Indonesian body language and make them dislike you?

Well, that’s well out of the equation.

Indonesians are extremely forgiving to people who accidentally commit some kind of cultural faux pas.

And instead of a list of warnings, here’s a guide to the kind of Indonesian body language and body gestures you can expect to see and should take note of to use yourself.

One quick read-through and you’ll have a great idea of the underlying cultural etiquette that dictates what’s acceptable and what’s a little bit rude.

Without further ado,’s guide to body gestures, customs, and etiquette in Indonesia! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Indonesian Body Gestures from Head to Toe
  2. Conclusion

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1. Indonesian Body Gestures from Head to Toe

1- Your Head and Face

Smiling Woman

1. Hair

Let’s start with the hair. You’ll quickly notice that a lot of young men take pride in their haircuts—in fact, there seems to be old-fashioned barber shops on every main street.

This is part of the underlying cultural tendency toward cleanliness that you’ll pick up on. Don’t let your hair get greasy or unkempt, and don’t fiddle with your hair or constantly run your fingers through it.

It’s also seen as slightly rude to scratch your head in public.

2. Smiling & Laughing

Furthermore, Indonesians love to smile. I think the nickname “land of smiles” for Bali exists in several languages.

These days, however, many Indonesian women will cover their mouths when smiling or laughing. There are two reasons for that. First, it’s still a part of Indonesian culture for women to appear more “refined” or “demure.” This cultural habit is also reinforced and popularized by Japan and Korea, where pop and TV stars will generally do the same thing for the same reason.

3. Eye Contact in Indonesian Culture

Eye contact is an important body gesture in Indonesian communication and culture. Avoiding eye contact is a sign of embarrassment, just like it is in the West. However, in period films or TV shows, you’ll notice that everybody seems to be avoiding eye contact. Why is that?

Traditional Javanese society was heavily stratified socially. It was imperative that one avoided eye contact with one’s superiors, whether that be the patriarch of the family or a village leader.

It’s not really expected these days, but if you happen to go to a more rural area, it’s polite to avert your gaze if your host is saying something important.

4. Eating

Unlike in some neighboring countries, it’s considered rude in Indonesia to eat loudly or talk with your mouth full. You shouldn’t spit on the street either.

2- Your Hands

Indonesian Gestures

1. Right vs. Left Hand

Knowing when to use your left or right hand is an essential aspect of body gesture in Indonesian culture to understand. The basic rule to remember is that the right hand comes first. This is because, as in many other Islam-influenced countries, the left hand is associated with cleaning the body, and it’s therefore considered rude to offer your unclean left hand to others when giving or receiving things.

2. Shaking Hands

One of the most common hand gestures in Indonesian culture is the hand shake. When you greet somebody and shake hands, briefly press your right palm to your heart afterward.

Although Indonesian culture is strongly influenced by Islam, it’s much more acceptable for men and women to shake hands than it is in some more-conservative Islamic cultures.

Handshakes, however, tend to be considerably more gentle across the board than they are in the West.

3. Walking in Front of Someone

This one of the more interesting body gestures among Indonesian people, though it shouldn’t be totally unfamiliar to you.

When you walk in front of somebody, you should bend over slightly and extend your right hand down with the palm facing them.

Think of the gesture associated with “after you” in the West, like when inviting somebody to take a seat or go ahead in line. The only difference is that you do it in motion, holding this gesture constant while you walk.

4. The Peace Sign

Korean culture is pretty trendy these days in Indonesia, as I mentioned. What does that have to do with body language? Well, if you find yourself in a group picture, the two-finger peace sign is practically guaranteed to come out.

3- Your Arms

Woman with Crossed Arms

1. Displays of Anger or Frustration

Indonesians tend to avoid public displays of anger or frustration. Doing things like swinging your arms when you’re impatient or hitting a desk when you’re upset are strongly frowned upon, and it’s very rare to see native Indonesians doing so. You’ll likely be kept waiting quite frequently, to be honest, but simply do as the locals do and sit quietly.

2. Man-to-Man Physical Affection

Physical affection between men in the form of handholding or hugging is far more common than it is in the West, though people who have visited other majority-Islam countries won’t be surprised by this.

It’s not unusual to see a man sitting with his arm around the shoulders of a male friend. However, a hearty slap on the back is frowned upon as too aggressive.

3. Indicating Where Something is (Nearby)

There’s a particular way of showing somebody the way toward something that may be unique to Indonesia. You bend over a little, keep your arm bent, and give a thumbs-up, pointing your thumb in the direction that you want the person to go. Interestingly enough, this only tends to apply to short distances.

If you’re saying that the airport is ten kilometers in such-and-such a direction, go ahead and use the whole hand.

4. Forehead to Hand of Superior

Oh, and here’s another one of the unfamiliar body gestures in Indonesian society you may see: When Javanese people greet one another in a formal setting, the person of lower social status is expected to briefly touch their forehead to the back of their superior’s hand.

In the past, this was a kiss, but these days just touching the forehead is faster and a little more sanitary.

4- Your Legs and Feet

Many Pairs of Legs

1. No Shorts

Although Indonesian weather can be brutally hot at times, you’ll practically never see locals wearing shorts. From experience, you really can get used to it even if it seems like a nightmare to wear heavy jeans in 35-degree C (95-degree F) weather.

2. Taking Off Your Shoes

Many Indonesian houses and guesthouses (known as kos) have beautiful and clean tiled floors. For that reason, there’s usually a small sign at the entrance reading Lepas sepatu! which means “Take off your shoes!” And underneath the sign, there will be a jumbled heap of shoes. Take a look inside, though, at what people are doing.

It’s part of Muslim culture to wash the feet regularly throughout the day, and thus people often go completely barefoot inside these houses (and even on the street!). It’s quite something to see how fast native Indonesians take off and put on their shoes and sandals—it’s a totally unconscious action.

In general, you should take off your shoes when they’re going to touch anything that’s not a public floor. That even includes if you need to stand on a chair to reach something in your school or office!

3. Crossed Legs in Indonesian Language

There’s no stigma against leg-crossing in Indonesia. Men and women alike cross or uncross their legs as comfort dictates, unlike in some countries where a man crossing his legs is seen as feminine. Women do tend to ride motorcycles sidesaddle, especially if they’re wearing a long dress or robe.

5- Gestures While Talking

Business Meeting

On the whole, there really isn’t any big and notable body language in Indonesians’ talking. There’s nothing like the stereotypical Indian head nod, or the Japanese bow.

However, if you spend enough time hanging out with Indonesians, you’ll probably notice that you subconsciously pick up a certain way of holding yourself as you speak.

For example, when you say the phrase Oh, begitu! meaning “Oh, I see!” you’ll tend to raise your head up a little and lean back.

And when you say Iya, meaning “yes,” you might duck your head forward a bit as if you were nodding and bowing at the same time. Especially if you’re talking to someone who’s a little bit higher up on the respect ladder than you, such as an immigration official or a professor.

Lastly, it’s fairly rude in most countries to point at someone or shake your finger while talking, but in Indonesia, the raised index finger while speaking means “I have a point to make.” If you use it too much, you’ll come across as a little bit bossy, though it’s fine to use in an animated discussion.

6- Gestures While Driving

Woman Leaning Out of Car

It’s very easy and affordable for foreigners to rent motorbikes in Indonesia. If and when you do so, you should be aware of a couple of common hand signals, because nobody will tell you these when you start driving.

1. Traffic Directors

At smaller intersections in smaller cities, volunteers don orange vests, wave their hands, and furiously blow whistles to direct the flow of traffic. Their actual techniques vary from person to person, though you’ll get the idea from watching which drivers are stopped and which are going.

If you’re first in line, watch for the wheeling arm motion; this means you get to go ahead. A hand held out, palm down, means “stop.” It’s customary to give these folks a small tip if they give you any particular attention, like clearing the way for you to do a U-turn.

2. On a Motorbike

Now, when you find yourself riding on the back of a motorbike, you have the unique duty of reinforcing the turn indicator. When your driver wants to make a turn, look around and make eye contact with drivers nearby, and lazily wave your arm in the direction of your intended turn.

Don’t stick your hand out straight as you would riding a bicycle, but instead keep your arm moving so that the movement catches the eye of other drivers.

3. Middle Finger

By the way, there’s another “gesture while driving” that you may have already thought of.

Most Indonesian drivers aren’t very aggressive, though they do tend to play fast and loose with traffic rules. It’s considered very rude and even strange to actually get angry in public, so flipping someone the bird because of their driving is considered significantly more rude than in many Western countries.

7- Personal Space in Indonesia

Woman Sitting Alone

Depending on where you come from, you may feel either anxious and relaxed reading this: Indonesians deeply respect personal space.

At offices and banks, people wait in line with a respectable amount of distance between each person. It’s extremely rare for anyone to cut in line, and if you do so, you’ll likely get a polite but firm verbal request to head to the back.

To get someone’s attention in public, it’s actually pretty rare to reach out and tap them on the shoulder. Sometimes, if it’s really urgent, you may feel a small tug on your shirt, but for the most part, people will just call out to you and wait for you to turn around. Remember, Indonesian culture is patient!


An overarching theme of this article is that you’ve really got nothing to worry about. As long as you’re respectful and observant—and after all, what language-lover isn’t?—you’ll handle these cultural footnotes beautifully.

Simply keep the basics in mind:

  • Respect personal space
  • Use the right hand
  • Be deferential to others in respected societal roles

The body language will come naturally.

And when it does, you’ll earn people’s respect. It’ll be a subtle kind of respect, one that doesn’t show up in compliments—how many times have you complimented a foreigner on their body language ability? Rather, this respect means that others will simply enjoy being around you more.

That kind of cultural competence can’t be taught or really even consciously learned. But when you realize one day that you’re doing things just like locals are, you’ll know you’ve made it. And will be here with you every step of the way.

So, readers, are body language cues and etiquette similar in your own country, or very different? Let us know in the comments! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

How to Get an Indonesian Visa and Find Jobs in Indonesia


Living and working in Indonesia—could it be a dream come true?

You’ve got an incredible blend of vibrant cultures all around you. You’ve got the world’s best beaches, towering volcanoes, and pristine forests. You’ve got an attractive expat salary package in a country with a very low cost of living.

You’ve got it made.

You just have to get there.

Unfortunately, Indonesia is one of the hardest Asian countries to find a job in, even with an Indonesia visa. The government’s strategy to reduce unemployment is to place heavy restrictions on expat workers, and that severely limits the opportunities available in every sector.

In this article, we’ll walk you through just what these restrictions are and what you can do to maximize your chances of jumping through all those hoops—and making that dream a reality. Without further ado, our guide on how to find jobs in Indonesia. Start with a bonus, and download the Business Words & Phrases PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. The Job Situation in Indonesia
  2. How to Find Teaching Jobs
  3. How to Find Other Jobs When Living in Indonesia
  4. Do You Need to Speak the Language?
  5. Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Master Indonesian

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1. The Job Situation in Indonesia

Indonesian jobs

First, here’s some background info about the job market in Indonesia to help set the stage.

Indonesia is, as you likely know, a developing country. Much of the population lives in relatively rural areas, and even the big cities have enormous sprawling areas of lower-income districts. Unemployment is relatively high, and gainful employment is tough to attain for ordinary locals.

One of the solutions, from the government’s perspective, is to limit the number of foreigners occupying positions that Indonesians could otherwise hold. Foreign nationals employed in Indonesia are required to be experts in their field; that is, holders of a university degree and with five years’ experience or a title showing their high place on the corporate ladder.

On top of that, businesses are taxed US$100 per month per foreigner hired, which is an astonishing sum in many cities. Most businesses that would otherwise gladly hire foreigners don’t clear this hurdle. That money, by the way, goes straight to the Manpower Department, where it’s invested in job training so locals can learn how to do your job.

And to make things more complicated, the visa approval process is designed to last months, further cutting down the pool of foreigners to only those who are both patient and well-off enough to survive this trial. Oh, and all of that vocabulary is all in Indonesian, of course.

With that in mind, where can you turn?

For many, the classroom.

2. How to Find Teaching Jobs

Woman Helping Children with Assignment

Teaching English in Indonesia is big, and other languages such as Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic aren’t terribly far behind. Even Dutch is more popular here than in many other countries because of the colonial ties with The Netherlands.

It’s possible for native speakers of any of these languages to find a job teaching in any large city. One potential contact is your country’s consulate or embassy, as they often run language classes and cultural events.

The good news is that native speaker teachers with certificates automatically qualify as foreign experts—you don’t need to be an award-winning educator or anything like that.

Outside of English teacher jobs in Indonesia, your best bet is to contact university language departments. Even smaller universities will have departments of European and Asian languages, and they may be looking for full- or part-time lecturers.

There are also several international schools in larger cities that provide education for all subjects in English. So a native speaker who can teach math or biology is also likely to have a fighting chance.

But one thing you’ll have to decide pretty early on in your job search in Indonesia is how by-the-book you want to do things. It’s not particularly complicated to get an extendable tourist visa, though it does require renewal every month for four months.

These visas aren’t valid for employment, but that won’t stop many schools from hiring you. That means you do have the opportunity to teach part-time and be paid under-the-table for your work.

However, that comes with the real risk of fines, deportation, and even jail time if you’re caught. Some people get away with this for years, and others are busted and face serious consequences.

Finding a job for foreigners in Indonesia that will sponsor a work visa is significantly more difficult, and frankly, nearly impossible in smaller cities if you don’t have a local contact. Networking is absolutely key to your success as you go job hunting in Indonesia.

You’ll need to frequently scour ESL job boards, look at other job postings in Indonesia, and perhaps even contact a recruiter to help you get placed. And to set yourself apart, it’s necessary to have professional certification from an accredited training program; those 40-hour short courses won’t cut it. Other teaching experience in Asia is definitely a plus.

Two of the best job boards with Indonesian sections are Go Overseas and Teach Away. You’ll notice that the Indonesian sections aren’t very big compared to, say, Thailand or China.

Keep your eye on these boards and make a point of applying to all the jobs that you’re even slightly interested in.

Send follow-up emails and thank your interviewers for their time. Do all the “good interviewee” things, in short, because these opportunities are slim.

3. How to Find Other Jobs When Living in Indonesia

Job interview phrases

So teaching isn’t for you. Not a problem!

If your end goal is simply working in Indonesia, the easiest way by far is to get a position with a firm based in your country that does business in Indonesia.

It will probably take some time before you’re actually placed there, but it’s a lifesaver to have other people in charge of arranging the actual work placement. The benefit of having a familiar culture to relate to can’t be overstated either—it’s easy to feel isolated in another country, even one as friendly and open as Indonesia is known to be.

Without that kind of stepping stone, it’s going to be harder to find work in Indonesia for a few reasons:

  • First, Indonesia isn’t the type of society where people can easily post and access information like job openings. That’s done in a much more word-of-mouth way than you’d expect. Essentially, job sites in Indonesia may not be the easiest place to look for work.
  • On the flip side, though, once people know you’re qualified and looking for a job, they may pass on your resume to interested parties.
  • Another difficulty is simply that the expected salary difference for locals and expats is usually pretty high. And even putting aside the salary question, you’re going to have to be trained in the local way of doing things, translating to an extra burden that doesn’t exist with a local.

All that means is that you need to stand out.

Woman in Red Surrounding by People in Black

Whatever niche you have, work like crazy to make your experience shine. If you have enough time to prepare, getting additional accreditation or certificates bumps you ahead of the other candidates. Those will be perfect for when you need to prove your expertise to the visa office.

The number-one most helpful thing in getting a job in Indonesia is connections. Is there anyone at all you know who can vouch for you or put your name in somewhere? A glowing personal reference (or two or three) goes extremely far.

Naturally, there are a number of job websites devoted specifically to Indonesia. Karir and JobStreet are two of the largest and best-known.

On both of them, you can search for jobs looking for foreign talent, as well as jobs only in English. Just skim through the job postings in Indonesia to find what you’re looking for. But that language question can be pretty thorny…

4. Do You Need to Speak the Language?

Business phrases

This is a big consideration whenever you’re thinking about moving abroad: What impact will my language skills have on my life there?

It’s no secret that a lot of Westerners living in Asian countries never end up picking up much of the local language. It’s easy to surround yourself in an English bubble anywhere. It takes a certain mindset shift to accept the bumpiness of actually using a language while you’re still a learner. Even simple stuff like just talking about your job in Indonesian can be a surprising hurdle.

As always, the answer is going to be different depending on where you end up. The more developed the city, and the younger the people you’re working with, the better the chance is that you can accomplish everything you need in English.

Outside your work, it’s relatively rare to have truly fluent English speakers in customer service roles that aren’t directly associated with the tourist industry. A Starbucks next to a hotel? English is a good bet. A mini-mart near a university? Try your luck and see what happens. A shack selling fried squid on the side of the road? Better stick to body language.


Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Master Indonesian

My point earlier about needing a standout quality as a foreigner is a perfect reason for you to invest some serious time into learning Indonesian. The more you can show that you’re committed to treating your new country with respect, the more you’ll be accepted as a potential candidate. And besides, nailing an Indonesian job interview is an amazing feeling.

You’ll also need to take a look at your current qualifications and experience in your field. How much do you excel? Why should a company hire you and train you all about Indonesian work culture, when they can hire a local for much less?

Whether or not you’re thinking of a job in the ESL industry, having some real qualifications (such as professional certificates) will go a long way. Even better if you can show that you’ve got experience working somewhere in Southeast Asia, or that you have experience adapting to unfamiliar cultures.

With all that in mind, and with a strong attitude of perseverance, you’ll have that job in Indonesia before you know it.

And will be here for you every step of the way, with insightful blog posts, podcasts, and free vocabulary lists to help you improve your Indonesian skills. By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can even take advantage of having your own personal Indonesian teacher with our MyTeacher program!

Do you plan on working in Indonesia soon, or know someone who does? What’s the most valuable thing you learned from this article? Let us know in the comments!

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Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

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!

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Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Your learning is about to get a whole lot easier.

More than ever, learners are choosing mobile as the platform to study Indonesian. Mobile has always been a part of our DNA. We began our life on your iPod, and have remained by your side ever since.

In our 11th year, we’re returning to our roots as a way to learn Indonesian on-the-go. How? With a brand-new lesson interface just for you.

Hint: It will launch in beta later this month!

If you want to secure access to this brand new upgrade, take advantage of the upcoming All Access Pass Sale! Click Here to Get 25% OFF All IndonesianPod101 Subscriptions!

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It’s built from the ground-up to be a great experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

You don’t have to compromise anymore.

Take the whole lesson experience with you wherever you go.

Our lessons are the heart of our learning system and now they’re the heart of the interface as well. Just tap the big play button to start learning right away.

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As you scroll through the lesson contents, the player sticks with you at the bottom of your screen.

Pause, rewind or adjust your speed and volume without losing your place.

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Navigation is also just a tap away.

Quickly jump to the dialogue, vocabulary, or lesson notes with our new lesson navigation bar. Available at the top of your screen wherever you are.

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And for the first time ever, you don’t need to download a PDF or jump between tabs to read the lesson notes and transcript. Read it all on your mobile browser as you listen.

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There are many more small improvements but the end result is this: a drastically improved lesson experience on mobile and desktop.

Spend less time squinting at your screen and more time reaching your Indonesian goals.

The new lesson interface will launch in beta this month.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Keep on studying!

Sneak peek! And if you take advantage of our upcoming 25% OFF All Access Pass Sale, you secure full access to this new update! You unlock our complete Indonesian learning program – ALL Audio/Video Courses from Beginner to Advanced, Premium Study Tools, Bonus Apps and much more!

Click Here to Get 25% OFF All Plans until March 31st, 2017.

To your fluency,

Team IndonesianPod101

P.S. Get 25% OFF ANY Plan! Master Indonesian with YOUR All-Access Pass!

Want to learn Indonesian fast with an ALL-ACCESS PASS to our entire learning system? Get 25% OFF Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS and unlock ALL audio/video lessons, study tools and exclusive apps that you’ll ever need. And with Premium PLUS, you get your own teacher! Just $3 a month & up to $137 in savings. Ends March 31st, 2017.

Get Your Indonesian All-Access Pass! Click here to get 25% OFF ALL Plans!

IndonesianPod101 Free Lifetime Account: Is it really free?

You want to learn Indonesian but you don’t want to spend a cent. You don’t want to lose time creating an account if they ask you for your credit card just after. For you Indonesian learner, we tell you how you will access great resources for free for life and without card or having to pay. This is your unique path to fluency for free.

free lifetime account indonesianpod101 benefit

IndonesianPod101 is not really free, is it?
Although there are paid plans, yes, it is FREE. Every single lesson that we have ever created has been free for a certain period of time. And every new audio and video lesson (we publish 3-5 lessons a week) is completely free to access for 3 weeks before going into our lesson library.

What’s a Free Lifetime Account?
A Free Lifetime Account is – simply put – a free membership at IndonesianPod101.

What do I get with this Free Account? How can I learn for free for life?
Here’s how you learn every day without paying a cent at IndonesianPod101. You have access to all of these features for life:

  • New audio and video lessons every week – 3-5 new, free lessons a week
  • The first 3 lessons of every single series – 100+ lessons in total
  • New Daily Dose of Indonesian lessons – a new free lesson every day
  • Indonesian Word of the Day lessons – a new free lesson every day
  • Throwback Thursday lessons – a free random lesson every Thursday
  • The Innovative Language 101 App for the Android, iPhone and iPad
  • The 100 Most Common Words List to get a head-start on learning vocabulary
  • Vocabulary and phrase lists for topics, themes and holidays
  • Bonus resources and mobile apps in the Indonesian resources section

    Start speaking Indonesian now!

    Do I need a credit card to sign up?
    No. All you need is a valid email address to join. The only times you’d require a credit card (or another payment method such as PayPal) is if you want to upgrade to a Basic, Premium or Premium PLUS subscription.

    To sum-up, you create a free account only with your email address, you’ll get a 7-day trial to experience Premium access to IndonesianPod101, and after this period you will stay on as a “Free” member accessing all our tool and resources mentioned before. So what are you waiting for?

    It will take you only 30 seconds and a valid email, no credit card, no money asked, to create your free lifetime account and get on the way to reach Indonesian fluency!

  • Introducing Our Brand New Dashboard!

    Hey Listeners!

    Guess what? Your language learning goals just got a little easier!

    As you’ve probably realized by now, there have been some major improvements made to your dashboard! These updates have been designed to improve your overall experience with the website and help keep you organized and on-track! Here are a few of the changes:

    • Your progress is now tracked right, smack in the middle of the page to keep you motivated and organized.
    • A new, sleek and easy to navigate design allows you to worry less about where to click and more on learning Indonesian!
    • An enlarged profile picture that gives your dashboard a unique and more personal feel.
    • A new layout for the “Latest News” feed to keep you informed on all of the most recent updates.
    • Bigger buttons to make it easier on the eyes. Locate your all of your lessons and materials faster than ever.

    Stay tuned, as more updates are being rolled out later in the month!

    Enjoy your new dashboard,

    Team IndonesianPod101

    P.S. Get Access To Our My Teacher Tool For Extra Help!
    As you may have noticed, on the left side of your dashboard is our My Teacher feature. This tool allows you to have 1-on-1 interaction with your very own personal teacher! This is only available to our Premium Plus subscribers, so be sure to upgrade if you want to take your studies to the next level!

    Click Here To Sign Up For Premium Plus Now!