Festivals & Holidays in Indonesia

 

 Chap Goh Meh in Singkawang

Festival date: Feb. 8, 2020

In West Kalimantan Province, Singkawang's sizeable ethnic Chinese community celebrates Chinese New Year with the keen participation of Malay and Dayak communities as well. The 15th day of Chinese New Year - “Chap Goh Meh” - is particularly cherished by locals, who believe that the gods converge on Singkawang during this time of year.

Beyond the lion and dragon dances, Cap Goh Meh in Singkawang is most well known for its Tatung spiritual mediums, who ward off evil spirits and dispel misfortune by going into trances and performing seeming self-mutilation – piercing skewers through their cheeks and tongues, stepping on swords, and the like.

While the festival occurs all throughout Singkawang, the biggest party takes place in and around the Kridasana Stadium in the middle of the city.

 

Waisak in Borobudur

Festival date: May 7, 2020

Waisak is, for Indonesian Buddhists, a celebration of the Buddha's birth, death and enlightenment.

On the full moon that marks the eve of the festival, the massive mandala of Borobudur in Magelang becomes the focus for a solemn procession in the moonlight. Thousands of Buddhists – monks, nuns, and laypeople alike – walk from Mendut Temple, carrying a holy fire and a container of holy water to an altar on the west side of Borobudur.

After circling three times clockwise around Borobudur and receiving blessings from holy Buddhist gurus, the crowd releases about a thousand sky lanterns, with a wish for enlightenment to spread across humankind.

 

Bali Arts Festival

Festival date: June 13 - July 11, 2020

The culture-crazy island of Bali becomes the focal point for one of Indonesia's biggest arts festivals every July. First established in 1979 as “the basic forum for the growth of our love of the arts,” as expressed by Bali's then-Governor Ida Bagus Mantra, the celebration has grown by leaps and bounds in the ensuing decades, now bringing together artists and disciplines from not just Bali, but from all over Indonesia.

On the second Saturday of June every year, the festival kicks off at the WerdiBudaya Art Center in Denpasar, with any number of cultural events taking place on the grounds, from barong dances to sendratari (Balinese ballet) recitals. Other highlights include documentary screenings, cooking exhibitions, arts exhibits, and live gamelan orchestras.

 

Jakarta Fair Kemayoran

Festival date: June 22, 2020

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta hosts Indonesia's largest fair every June at the Jakarta International Exhibition Center. Held to coincide with the city's founding anniversary on June 22, the Jakarta Fair unfolds over the span of a whole month, with exhibits featuring musical acts, carnivals, and the Miss Jakarta pageant.

Originally conceived as a night market and held on Merdeka Square (the present location of the National Monument, or Monas), the Fair eventually outgrew the original premises and moved to Kemayoran near the old airport site.

Shoppers will love the 2,000-odd pavilions exhibiting some of Indonesia's finest handicrafts, produce and other products – not to mention low, low prices on electronics, health products, and assorted other stuff. The exhibitions also feature some of Indonesia's best street food, all in one convenient location.

For more information, visit the official site: www.jakartafair.co.id. Check out Central Jakarta's hotels and the city's budget hotels for places to stay when in town.

 

Toraja International Festival

Festival date: TBA,

The Toraja community in the highlands of South Sulawesi welcome the world to their annual festival every July or August, each festival showcasing a different ritual native to their culture.

The “International” part comes from the special participation of global artists – previous participants included Tony Jayatissa from Malaysia, the Vieux Cissokho& Maryam Kouyate from Senegal, and Kuweit Tune from the Middle East.

Cultural fans will love both the performances and the festival's backdrop – the Toraja villages with their unique upturned-roof houses.

 

YadnyaKasada on Bromo

Festival date: July 17-18, 2020

The Tenggerese who live in the farmlands surrounding Mount Bromo trace their descent to Majapahit-era Hindus who fled to the mountains after the coming of Islam. They believe that their ancestors, a couple named RoroAnteng and JokoSeger, ended years of childlessness by successfully petitioning the gods for children. After 24 children, the gods decreed, the couple had to throw the 25th into the volcano crater as an offering. (Read about climbing active volcanoes in Indonesia.)

Today's Tenggerese do not descend to human sacrifice, but on the 14th day of the Kasada month, they congregate to the Bromo crater to sacrifice other things: money, live chickens, flowers and food. (Non-Hindu locals aren't as reverent; they clamber down the crater to pick up the sacrifices intended for the gods!)

The festival is open to outsiders, but you'll need to stay close to the crater.

Day

Date

Holiday Name

Type

Comments

Tuesday

Jan 01

New Year's Day

National Holiday

 

Tuesday

Feb 05

Imlek

National Holiday

 

Thursday

Mar 07

Hari Raya Nyepi

National Holiday

Balinese New Year

Wednesday

Apr 03

IsraMiraj

National Holiday

 

Wednesday

Apr 17

Public Holiday

National Holiday

For Presidential Election

Friday

Apr 19

Good Friday

National Holiday

International Catholic holiday

Wednesday

May 01

Labour Day

National Holiday

World Labour day

Sunday

May 19

Waisak Day

National Holiday

Birth of Buddha

Thursday

May 30

Ascension Day

National Holiday

39 days after Easter

Saturday

Jun 01

Pancasila Day

National Holiday

 

Monday

Jun 03

CutiBersama

National Holiday

Extra holiday declared by the government

Tuesday

Jun 04

CutiBersama

National Holiday

Extra holiday declared by the government

Wednesday

Jun 05

Hari Raya Puasa

National Holiday

End of Ramadan

Thursday

Jun 06

Hari Raya Puasa Holiday

National Holiday

End of Ramadan

Friday

Jun 07

CutiBersama

National Holiday

Extra holiday declared by the government

Sunday

Aug 11

IdulAdha

National Holiday

Feast of the Sacrifice

Saturday

Aug 17

Independence Day

National Holiday

 

Sunday

Sep 01

Muharram

National Holiday

Hijri New Year

Saturday

Nov 09

MaulidurRasul

National Holiday

Birthday of Prophet Muhammad

Tuesday

Dec 24

CutiBersama

National Holiday

Extra holiday declared by the government

Wednesday

Dec 25

Christmas Day

National Holiday

 

 

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