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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 16 - Kartini 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 16, Kartini Day. In Indonesian, it’s called Hari Kartini.
Mother Kartini Day falls each year on April 21 and commemorates the contribution of RA Kartini to the fight for equal opportunities between men, or pria and women, or wanita in the modern era, especially in education. During Kartini’s time, Javanese women did not go to school, yet according to Kartini, housewives carried out important roles in educating and taking care of their families.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about the various ways that Mother Kartini Day is commemorated.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Kartini's thoughts about the Indonesian nation are contained in a certain book. What is the title of this book?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
Kartini was the daughter of the regent of Rembang in Central Java. She came from an educated noble family and mastered the Dutch language. Kartini was fond of reading. Her older brother, who often studied abroad, sent her journals and magazines, or in Indonesian majalah. This is how Kartini learned that outside Java, women had the same opportunities as men, particularly in education. According to the Javanese tradition, a woman who had reached puberty had to be secluded and be prepared to become a wife, in a marriage typically arranged by the parents. Kartini, who experienced this seclusion, pioneered a school that taught women how to read and write along with some practical skills.
The commemoration of Kartini is a lively affair in which people can enjoy traditional activities of past eras. Traditional competitions such as lomba bakiak, which is a long wooden sandals team race and dakon, a type of board game, are presented with the purpose of reviving traditional games. Traditional clothing, called kebaya, becomes a common item of clothing on Kartini Day. It is a medium-fitted blouse with a thin shawl collar made of lightweight, woven fabric. Kebaya is usually paired with batik or sarong bottoms. In Rembang, the city where Kartini was born, beauty salons and kebaya rental are fully booked on this day. For a make-up service, customers have to be willing to queue from as early as 3 a.m. Clients vary greatly, ranging from office workers to kindergarten and elementary school students.
Another activity that livens up the commemoration of Mother Kartini Day is a cooking competition, in Indonesian called lomba masak, which is generally held by women's groups. Mothers and teenage daughters compete to make the most delicious culinary creation for the family. Traditional fashion shows are also a popular competition, in which the winning outfit is determined by the authenticity of the clothing and the grace of the person wearing it. Since authentic kebaya is made from long tight fabric, one must be extra careful while walking and pay special attention to not fall down.
Through the European books and journals sent to her by her older brother, RPM Sosrokartono, RA Kartini first learned about women’s emancipation and popularized it in Indonesia. Her brother, who mastered 26 languages, completed his higher education in Leiden in the Netherlands, then worked as a journalist and lived in Europe.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Kartini's thoughts about the Indonesian nation are contained in a book. What is the title of this book?
Kartini's letters to her pen-pal in the Netherlands were collected by J.H. Abendanon and published in a book entitled Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang or After Darkness, Light is Born.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
When did women in your country secure their rights to an education?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!