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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 13 - Indonesian Independence Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Indonesia Series at IndonesianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indonesian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 13, Indonesian Independence Day. In Indonesian, it’s called Hari Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia.
The Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia falls on August 17, the day when Soekarno and Hatta signed and read the Indonesian declaration of independence in 1945. This text contains the declaration that the islands in the Archipelago unite into one sovereign country and thereby reject Dutch colonization. In this lesson, you will see how this important event is celebrated.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know the most popular term for the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
Independence Day is usually filled with traditional games and 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 or climbing the slippery pole. People jostle to climb the pole, which has been smeared with lubricant, to get to the prizes at the top. The game invites laughter, or in Indonesian tawa, because the participants can’t help but slip and fall on the participants below.
Similar to panjat pinang, in Pekalongan, Central Java, the tradition is not climbing the pole, but walking on it. This tradition is called meniti pucang, meaning walking on a wooden pole. The pole is positioned horizontally over a river and people try to walk across it. The participant who walks the furthest wins. This game, or in Indonesian permainan, also brings great laughter to spectators, because the losing participants fall into the river.
In Banjar, there is 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 starting, residents and local public figures hold a prayer for the welfare of the Indonesian nation. After that, they go into the pool and scramble to catch some of the 100 kilograms of free fish held within.
The Independence Day games aren’t only held across the whole archipelago, but also the whole world. Indonesian citizens overseas also often enjoy celebrating these traditions together just like in their homeland, by visiting their embassies in their country of residence.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know the most popular term for the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia?
Because the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia falls on August 17, this day is often called 17 Agustusan. The Independence Day competitions and celebrations are called tujuh-belasan.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are you daring enough to try climbing the slippery pole or walking across one?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!