Indonesia will celebrate its 71st Independence Day on the 17th of August, when the national colors of red and white will be splashed across the country. Entering this month, expect to see lots of flag-waving, parades and family gatherings if you are travelling around Indonesia as the Indonesians commemorate their country’s independence from the Dutch. Join in the fun during this special occasion and learn more about the exciting celebrations in Indonesia happening around the country. Here’s the best part – you don’t have to spend any money to have fun during these activities! Budget conscious travellers who are looking to engage in these fun activities may interact with the locals during the celebrations without the need to splurge needlessly.
Here’s a look at four events happening this weekend.
Neighborhood Competitions and Traditional Games
Source: Henry Sudarman
During this event, locals usually gather to spectate or participate in competitions . These challenges can include sack races or marble and spoon races, where kids of all ages come together to have fun, while others can take part in cooking competitions or the kerupuk (cracker) eating contest. Perhaps the most interesting of them all is the Panjat Pinang, which involves several pinang (areca) poles, greased and erected in the middle of a field to make scaling difficult. Competitors would try to outpace one another to collect the various prizes sitting atop of these poles, and whoever gets to the top first gets dibs on prizes that range from T-shirts to bicycles. Such activities truly symbolise the communal spirit of the Indonesian people.
Flag Raising Ceremony and the Independence Day Parade
The highlight of the day is the flag raising ceremony and the Independence Day parade, which will be broadcasted everywhere around the nation on the national channel. Many students and government officials join the ceremony to raise the red and white banner as hundreds gather on to watch musical performances from various provinces. Expect to see fighter jets from the Indonesian Air Force zip across the sky as the flag reaches full mast.
On the other spectrum, the more adventurous ones will embark on a trip to conquer a mountain which see hundreds of hiking and outdoor enthusiasts trekking to the top of great mountains to raise the flag on top of the peak to showcase their national pride.
Giving Back to the Community
Patriotism need not be displayed by performing spectacular deeds. One of the many simple ways to show pride in Indonesia is to join a rubbish collection campaign, buying local products or even donning a traditional batik patterned shirt, for the purpose of giving back to the society and helping the less privileged kids or families.
In many neighborhoods, people will perform communal work known as gotong-royong, which often involves gathering to clean up their neighborhood together and they tend to be inclusive, allowing everyone to participate. To get involved in such events, simply approach the local community leaders.
Historical Films and Paintings
The hallmarks of such a national event are the historical events which trace the Trail of Independence. To better understand of Indonesia’s history, head down to the various places that are commemorate to the independence of the nation. These places include the The Battle Museum, the Museum of the Declaration of Independence and Proclamation Monument. History buffs may watch the several historical firms that often make a comeback during the patriotic event to rev up the national pride, and even visit the National Gallery of Indonesia to have a look at more than 15,000 art works featuring the historical and cultural landscape of Indonesia. You may even get the chance to have a guided tour to gain greater insights of Indonesia and its history.
As the Independence Day is a public and national holiday, expect many shops and banks to be closed and do not be surprised by the huge crowd during that day. It is wise to plan your journey ahead by avoiding the peak period, and purchase your necessities before the day itself. This includes exchanging your money earlier, and looking out for the best exchange rates you can get from the money changers. Travelling in Indonesia will not set you back if you plan well. Not only can you save on your trip, you get to enjoy the best cultural experience from Indonesia and have a fulfilling trip.
Download and Use our Get4x app to look for the best exchange rates as you do your holiday planning