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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 7 - Islamic New Year
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 7, Islamic New Year. In Indonesian, it’s called Tahun Baru Islam.
The public holiday of the Islamic New Year celebration marks the beginning of a new Hijri year, an Islamic calendar system based on lunar rotation. According to the Hijri calendar system, a new day begins when the sun sets.
In this lesson, we’ll talk about some of the rituals undertaken in Indonesia to commemorate the Islamic New Year.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
How many days per year and per month are there in the Islamic calendar?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
The annual ritual in the city of Solo to welcome the new year is called Kirab 1 Sura meaning The Royal Procession of the 1st of Sura. In this parade, in Indonesian pronounced parade, people get the chance to see the sacred heirlooms of the Surakarta Sultanate, a Javanese monarchy centered in the city of Surakarta. Wearing traditional costumes, abdi dalem, the name for the courtiers, follow the procession leading a pack of albino buffalos, which, according to traditional belief are descendants of Kyai Slamet, one of the oldest predecessors of the courtiers. Onlookers fight for the chance to touch the buffaloes, in Indonesian called kerbau, as they are believed to bring good luck.
In Yogyakarta, the new year celebration is held at Baron Beach, in the southern coastal area. Surrounded by beautiful limestone, this beach is known as one of the tourist destinations with the most gorgeous views in all of Yogyakarta. During the nights approaching Suro 1st, people will hold Upacara Sedekah Laut, or The Sea Offering Ritual, by drifting various local produce out to the sea in an expression of gratitude for the sea’s bounty. Offerings consisting of fruits, vegetables, traditional cakes, a buffalo head, or a goat head, will be pushed to the sea in the hope that fishermen will be granted safety while fishing over the coming year.
In other parts of Indonesia, the night of the 1st Muharram is welcomed with a torch parade, held by hundreds of Muslim from various circles, Muslim scholars, students, common people, and even children. In this annual ritual, people perform a communal prayer, or in Indonesian doa, followed by marching and carrying torches, accompanied by Islamic music and traditional dances.
We’ve mentioned the 1st of Suro and the 1st Muharram a few times now, but these actually fall on the same date. Suro, often spelled as S. u. r. a, is the Javanese word for Muharram. The word Muharram itself originates from the Arabic language.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How many days per year and per month are there in the Islamic calendar?
In the Islamic calendar, there are 354 and 355 days in a year, and there are 29 or 30 days in a month. One Islamic year is approximately 11 days shorter than one Gregorian year.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do people recognize the Islamic New Year in your country too?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!