Islamic New Year in Indonesia

The Indonesia Islamic New Year Holiday is about commemorating the foundation of Islam and migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. The prophet was the founder of Islam, and he went back to Mecca after God spoke to him about spreading the word of Islam to the world. This emigration is also called the Hijra.

20 Aug 2020ThursdayIslamic New Year 2020
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Indonesia Public Holidays

Independence Day

Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday

What is the Islamic New Year in Indonesia All About?

Islamic New Year

Countries that consider this a public holiday are Jordan, India, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, even in the countries that do not consider this as a public holiday, there are companies and organizations that change their operating hours and the Muslims gather in mosques to pray.

The celebrations of the Islamic New Year are quieter and not as festive compared to others. The focus is more on their culture, and they welcome it with prayers and peace.

When Muhammad tried to talk about the word of God, the pagans shunned him and his followers. There was tension between the Muslims and pagans that escalated quickly. Muhammad was eventually forced to lead the people to Medina from Mecca, and that is the significant event that this holiday is about.

Indonesians have a lot of traditions that they use for celebrating the Islamic New Year. Most of them are not done outside of Indonesia.

The Indonesian Muslims offer food to the rural communities in East Java, and this is to honour their God. They commonly offer rice, fruit, and vegetables. They call the offerings Gunungan, which they layout in a central area.

There are 364 days or 12 months in the calendar year of Islam. Muharram is a holy month that is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. In the Muharram month, the Hajj pilgrims end their journey to Mecca. They also believe that by fasting on the 10th day of the Muharram, all their sins will be forgiven, including the ones they committed the year before. This is why it is one of the most anticipated celebrations by Muslims.


How to Celebrate Islamic New Year in Indonesia and the Things You Can Do

The Tabot ritual is one of the most important events of the Islamic New Year, and they hold it in Bengkulu, which is on Sumatra’s southwest coast. Those who live in Bengkulu commemorates the day when Prophet Muhammad’s grandson died. He was Husein bin Ali Bin Thalib, during the battle of Karbala Irad back in 681 AH. Tabot in Arabic means Ark, and they build massive wooden structures known as tabots, and they are built to commemorate Muharram’s first 10 days. There is a similar festival known as the Tabuik, and it is done by the Minangkabau people. They do this in West Sumatra’s coastal regions, mostly in Pariaman city.

This celebration is culminated by reenacting the Battle of Kabala, and they accompany it with tassa and dhol drums.

The tabuik is made using wood, rattan, bamboo, and paper. Other activities such as traditional performances, kite racing, and dances. When the holiday ends, the tabuik will be thrown into the sea, and people will dive in the water to collect the pieces to keep for themselves.


How the Islamic New Year in Indonesia is Celebrated

The Islamic New Year spirit is not about having fun, but if people want to improve their personality, they must be more enthusiastic to improve the region. The provincial government also holds mass prayers and they chant to praise God at the mosque.

In West Java, there are thousands of people that go to the street for the torchlight parade. This parade promotes Islamic brotherhood. They call the Muslim residents to make it momentous and let them stay connected to the brotherhood.


Venues and Special Events for Celebrating the Islamic New Year in Indonesia

Mecca and Medina

Traditionally, Muslim parents tell the story of Muhammad’s escape from Mecca going to Medina at the night of this holiday.


You can attend a celebration for the Islamic New Year. If you go to Indonesia, the government will hold different parades and marches as a way to celebrate the Islamic New Year. They will chant songs which are called kidung.


On the 10th day of Muharram, they celebrate Ashura. This is a major festival day for the Shia Muslims, and to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein at Kabala. Based on the tradition of Islam, Prophet Muhammad recommends that you must fast on the ninth and 10th day.

You can witness this holiday if you go to Indonesia on the dates when they celebrate the Islamic New Year. It will be a unique experience for you to enjoy. Don’t forget to prepare your holiday by checking the Indonesia Public Holidays calendar.

Islamic New Year