The end of the fasting month of Ramadan is celebrated with great enthusiasm amongst Muslims across the world. Known across the world as Eid al-Fitr, Lebaran, or Hari Raya Idul Fitri, this national holiday is the largest Muslim celebration in Indonesia and lasts for two days. Food, family and celebration are at the heart of this festival.
If you’re curious about how Lebaran is celebrated in Indonesia, read on.
Just like any other big celebration, Lebaran is a time to be with your extended family and loved ones. In a pre-COVID world, it was a tradition to go back to your hometown or village during this time, a pilgrimage called Mudik or Pulang Kampung. The primary motivation behind this practice was to visit one’s family, especially parents. However, people also went to their hometown during this period to attend a gathering of members of the extended family. It was a great time to meet seldomly seen relatives scattered across geographies.
2. A time to forgive and to be forgiven
With people going back to their hometowns, Lebaran is also a time to ask for forgiveness, especially from one’s parents and elders. You may see people go around and greet each other, even neighbours, ‘Minal Aidin wal Faidzin, mohon maaf lahir dan batin’. ‘Mohon maaf lahir dan batin’ means ‘forgive all my wrongdoings’.
After a month-long period of fasting during Ramadan, followers are expected to give thanks and praise. The night before Lebaran is called takbiran. The term takbiran comes from the Arabic word takbir, which is similar to the phrase, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the greatest). Takbir is chanted at mosques or musallahs around town on the last evening of Ramadan.
4. Charity and helping those less fortunate
Before the end of Ramadan, every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of their needs must pay Zakat al-Fitr (fitrana) or charity for the poor and needy. One of the main purposes of Zakat al-Fitr is to make sure the less fortunate can also celebrate the breaking of the fast (Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the community. The head of household can pay Zakat al-Fitr for their dependents including their children, household help and other dependent relatives. This obligatory tax can be paid during Ramadan, before Lebaran prayers at the latest.
5. Rice cakes
According to local tradition in Indonesia, one of the dishes served during Lebaran is ketupat. It is a pressed rice dish cooked in diamond-shaped parcels made from coconut fronds. It has a bland taste and is normally served with other dishes such as opor ayam, a chicken dish cooked in coconut milk.
6. Big feasts
Lebaran feasts are legendary. An array of dishes is placed in big trays for families to share and enjoy together. It depends on which part of Indonesia you belong to, but popular dishes include beef rendang, chicken curry and ketupat on Lebaran dining tables.
7. Traditional attire
Women are often dressed in kaftan or gamis which are long dresses during Lebaran celebrations, while men clothe themselves in baju koko. These pieces of clothing come in many styles and colours with linen and cotton materials being widely used.
As Lebaran is a time for family celebrations and big feasts, why not make this one extra special by celebrating in one of our roomy private luxury villas. Drop us a note and our Villa Specialists will be happy to assist you.