The Indonesian Annual Exodus: Idul Fitri Celebrations

2 min read –

I hope you did not plan to do any business with Indonesia this week.

Why? Read below to know.

The country is simply closed for business right now.

This week is Idul Fitri, also known as Lebaran in Indonesia.

It is a significant religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

Lebaran is celebrated by about 230 million people in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population.

People living in big cities embark on a journey to their hometowns to celebrate the holiday.

Around 193 million people travel within Indonesia during the festivities this year.

This annual mass exodus, known locally as “mudik,” is a cherished tradition in Indonesia.

In Jakarta, where the majority of this exodus is, almost the entire population of the city leaves.

The Indonesian ministry of transportation has prepared more than 700 free buses to transport about 30 thousand people back and forth between Jakarta and 30 other cities.

Some big companies also prepare free buses for their employees, families, and communities.

During this one-week off, Jakarta, aka the Big Durian is transformed into a temporary ghost town 👻

It is the best time of the year to drive in town because there is no traffic jam.

Usual traditions associated with this holiday season are:

➡ Buying new clothes and wearing them. It symbolizes renewal and a fresh start.

➡ Visiting relatives and neighbours to seek forgiveness, reconciliation, and exchange warm greetings. It is believed that forgiving others brings spiritual purification.

➡ Traditional foods, like “ketupat” (rice cakes wrapped in palm leaves), or “opor ayam” (chicken cooked in coconut milk).

➡ Giving gifts, especially to children. Money or small tokens are exchanged as a gesture of goodwill.

Gift money is given in the form of brand new small denomination banknotes.

So there you go! A new business appears: people selling new banknotes on the side of the road.

Those temporary money-changers take a small fee but you don’t have to go and queue for hours at the bank.

This business may appear negligible because cash is in small notes of 1,000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to 20,000 IDR (6 cents to 1.25 USD).

Make no mistake! Bank Indonesia had prepared 197 trillion IDR for this money exchange ritual ahead of celebration. This is an astonishing 12.5 billion USD.

Sorry I am talking about money and business again 😃

Forgive me, and let’s go back to our topic 😐

Idul Fitri is a time of joy, reflection, and unity.

It brings families together, strengthens bonds, and reminds every one of the importance of compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude.

We CINTASIA 🇲🇫 🇮🇩 wishes all our Muslim friends and partners a Blessed Festival or Eid Mubarak.

PS: If you enjoyed this post, open it on LinkedIn (link below) and hit the repost button 😉 🙏🏻

Sources : Reuters, infobanknews, Mark W Medley.
Picture : unknown artificial intelligence