Muslim boys carry balloons during 'magengan kubro' celebration to welcome Ramadhan at Al Akbar Mosque in Surabaya, East Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Zabur Karuru)

This Is How Indonesia Welcomes Ramadan


MAY 04, 2019

Indonesian Muslims welcome Ramadan, the fasting month which starts today, with great fanfare. It may seem like each region in this country of over 300 ethnic groups has its own way of marking the beginning of the holy month. Vespa fans in Karawang rode around the city in their heavily modified bikes that looked more like floats on a bedug parade; a kampung in Surabaya made a tumpeng (pile) of apem (rice flour pancakes) for a magengan kubro ceremony; in Boyolali, Central Java, Muslims swam in water springs to purify their body and soul in a ritual called padusan. Every celebration has both religious and traditional meaning. For Indonesian Muslims, Ramadan is not only an ascetic ritual of refraining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, but also a month of reflection to deepen their faith. 

Muslims in Bogor, West Java ride a vespa as they take part of bedug parade to welcoming the holy fasting ramadan on Saturday (04/05) (ANTARA FOTO/M Ibnu Chazar)
Vespa vans in Karawang, West Java, ride their modified bikes around town in a bedug parade on Saturday. (Antara Photo/M. Ibnu Chazar)
Resident throws some apem cake during grebek gunungan apem in Jombang, East Java on Friday (03/05) (ANTARA FOTO/Syaiful Arif)
People grab apem cakes from a float during a grebek gunungan ceremony in Jombang, East Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Syaiful Arif)
Participants rise after submerge themselves in Umbul Ngabean to purifying their soul during Padusan ritual in Pengging, Banyudono, Boyolali, Central Java, on Saturday (04/05) (ANTARA FOTO / Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)
Muslims take a dip in the Umbul Ngabean springs during a Padusan purification ritual in Boyolali, Central Java, on Saturday. (Antara Photo/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)
Muslim residents carry torches as they take part during a parade ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Bogor, West Java on Friday (03/04)(ANTARA FOTO/Yulius Satria Wijaya)
Muslims carry torches during a street parade in Bogor, West Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya)
Students wear islamic attire as they take part on a parade to welcoming the Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Aceh on Tuesday (30/04) (ANTARA FOTO/Irwansyah Putra)
Students in niqab during a street parade to welcome Ramadan in Banda Aceh. (Antara Photo/Irwansyah Putra)
A boy burns bamboo lemang to welcoming the Ramadan in Alue Raya Village, Samatiga, West Aceh, Aceh, Saturday (04/05). The tradition of cooking and making bamboo lemang is carried out from generation to generation in order to strengthen the relationship. (ANTARA FOTO / Syifa Yulinnas)
Cooking lemang (sticy rice cake) in bamboos – a Ramadan specialty – in Samatiga, West Aceh, on Saturday. (Antara Photo/Syifa Yulinnas)
A neighborhood in Surabaya make tumpeng of apem cake for magengan kubro on Friday (03/05) (ANTARA FOTO/Zabur Karuru)
A tumpeng (pile) of apem (rice flour pancakes) at a magengan kubro ceremony. (Antara Photo/Zabur Karuru)
Children carry imaginary animal statues of
Children carry ​Warak animal statues during a Dugder carnival in Semarang, Central Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/R. Rekotomo)
Former Lapindo residents scatter flowers for their deceased families, on the point of embankment 21 Porong, Sidoarjo, East Java on Saturday (04/05). Lapindo victims visit their families and relatives whose tombs had been drowned by mud. ( ANTARA FOTO / Umarul Faruq)
A man scatters flowers for the dead in Porong, East Java, on Saturday. The ground used to be a cemetery that was drowned by by hot mudflow from a botched gas drilling by Lapindo, a local mining company. (Antara Photo/Umarul Faruq)
Children carry a placard reads ayo ke masjid as they attend the Tarhib Parade in the Laweyan Batik Village, Solo, Central Java on Saturday (04/05). They march to call a prayer and fasting during the Ramadan. (ANTARA FOTO / Mohammad Ayudha)
'Let's go to the mosque,' says a poster carried by a student during a Tarhib parade in Laweyan, a kampung in Solo, Central Java, on Saturday. (Antara Photo/Mohammad Ayudha)