Holidays and festivals in Indonesia

Holidays and festivals in Indonesia

Holidays and festivals, traditional as well as international, occupy a big place in Indonesian people’s lives. For the visitors, it means wonderful opportunities to participate in local events and socialize with people. Here is a list of the main holidays worth seeing if you are in the country.

The Garebeg or Grebeg

The Garebeg or Grebeg counts among major cultural events in Yogyakarta. The festivities start with a procession from the Kraton, sultan’s palace.  Lavishly decorated floats and people in traditional costumes parade to the sound of the gamelan orchestras.  The procession ends with ‘Grebeg Maulud’ where the sultan makes a short appearance. This ritual happens three times a year. The schedule follows the Islamic calendar.

The Pasola

The Pasola is a traditional festival that takes us back to ancient Indonesian war rituals. Two teams of horse warriors oppose each other with dulled spears. This festival takes place on the island of Sumba every month of February to celebrate the rice-planting season.

The Jakarta International Jazz Festival

For those of you who enjoy good music, the Indonesian capital holds a three-day jazz festival in March every year. Famous jazz musicians as well as new national and international talents are on stage. Most concerts are held at the Jakarta International Expo (JIEXPO) but some performances happen in cultural centers, shopping malls, even in a number of bars and clubs of the city.

Nyepi

Nyepi marks the Balinese New Year. It normally falls in the month of March. Unlike new year’s celebrations in the west, Nyepy day means silence and meditation. In the days before Nyepi, the Balinese have to undergo a cleansing ritual to purify themselves. Each village builds giant effigies called ogoh-ogoh representing demons from Hindu mythology. After the ogoh-ogoh parade, the figures are destroyed to push away misfortune for the rest of the year.

Public Holidays in Indonesia 2018-2019

17 August 2018: Independance day 22 August 2018: Idul Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice 11 September 2018: Islamic New Year 20 November: Prophet Muhammad's Birthday 25 December: Christmas I January 2019: New Year 5 February 2019: Chinese New Year
7 March 2019: Nyepi 3 April 2019: Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad
19 April 2019: Good Friday 19 May 2019: Waisak, Buddha’s birthday 30 May 2019: Ascension of Jesus Christ 4 and 5 June 2019: Idul Fitri, end of Ramadan 12 August 2019: Idul Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice 17 August 2019: Independance day 1 September 2019: Islamic New Year 9 November 2019: Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
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