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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class:
Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 2 - Christmas
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 2, Christmas. In Indonesian, it’s called Natal.
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.
In this lesson, we’ll 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 listening.
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.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What traditions are part of the Christmas celebrations in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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What traditions are part of the Christmas celebrations in your country?