What is Pancasila Day in Indonesia All About?
The Pancasila Day Holiday was not always celebrated in Indonesia, and they only started four years ago. It is an official public holiday that President Joko Widodo declared in 2016 even though it has been recognized since 1945. The President decided to make the day a public holiday to celebrate and commemorate the speech of President Sukarno. There were five principles that were outlined in “The Birth of Pancasila” and it is about how the new nation must be governed.
They celebrate Pancasila every June 1st because, on the same day in 1945, President Sukarno delivered a famous speech addressed to the Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia or the BPUPKI). In the speech, the five principles were outlined and it became the nation’s foundation.
The five principles of Pancasila are:
- Belief in the supreme God
- Justice and civility among peoples
- Unity of Indonesia
- Democracy through deliberation and consensus among representatives
- Social justice for all the people of Indonesia
Indonesia has experienced religious and ethnic tensions when the ethnic Chinese and Basuki Tjahaja known as Ahok (former governor of Jakarta) ran during the gubernatorial election of Jakarta in 2017. Tensions became stronger when they accused Ahok of making a blasphemous speech. He went to prison for two years, and this verdict caused outrage all around the world.
In the coat of arms of Indonesia, its five images symbolize the Pancasila. These are:
- The golden star – It represents the five religions that are officially recognized in Indonesia.
- The banyan tree – The roots of this large tree symbolizes the different ethnic tribes in Indonesia. The roots also mean that Indonesians from all around the world will come back and work together to achieve the national objective.
- The bullhead – This one represents the musyawarah which means democracy and deliberation. Bulls are social animals and they are always in groups. The bull stands for the mutual cooperation between different groups.
- Rice grain and cotton stalk – These represent the basic needs of Indonesians and the intention to eliminate social inequality in the country.
- The chain – It represents humanity being civil and having justice. Since it is a chain, it also symbolizes the need for human connection and support from each other.
How to Celebrate Pancasila Day in Indonesia and Things You Can Do
Pancasila Day in Indonesia is special and the people never miss this chance to celebrate and practice their traditions.
Normally, there are flag ceremonies to honour the Negara or “country” and its five founding principles. In these ceremonies, they might have a speech or demonstrations about the modern-day Pancasila in Indonesia. Some Indonesian cities might have special parades.
Since Pancasila has a unifying nature, Indonesians normally use this holiday to remind citizens about the importance of being civil to one another. It can be in a form of a prayer or vigil with members of different religions uniting together, or maybe by reading poetry.
During Suharto’s era, July 1 was Pancasila day. It was only in 2016 when Pancasila was declared as an official Indonesia public holiday. June 1 was chosen because it is the birthday of President Sukarno, who was Indonesia’s beloved president. That is also the day when he delivered a remarkable speech about the five principles that will become the foundation of Indonesia.
How Pancasila in Indonesia is Celebrated
When Pancasila is celebrated in Indonesia, they usually hold a ceremony to commemorate this day. The heads of state institutions, cabinet ministers, government agency heads, the representatives of Indonesia, and regional heads attend this celebration. The people of Indonesia have their traditions when it comes to celebrating this day, but they can participate in the ceremony as well.
It begins with the national anthem “Indonesia Raya” and then after that, the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker will recite the five principles. Then, the house of the representative speaker (DPR) recites the 1945 constitution preamble.
The ceremony continues with the mandate and prayer recitation of the president. When Pancasila Day was first recognized in 2016, the president of Indonesia spoke about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs complex to emphasize the unity within the diversity as a foundation for Indonesian society. Therefore, any religious or political organization must not undermine it.
The values of the Pancasila have been threatened recently by different religious organizations which promote an Islamist political way of restructuring society on social media and the street actions. He encouraged the Islamic priests, priests, clerics, Buddhist and Hindu monks, pastors, art workers, and all elements of society to unite together to protect the Pancasila and way of life.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating the Pancasila Day in Indonesia
Bali and Yogyakarta
For those who want to use this time for a holiday, they must plan their vacation ahead of time since it is a three-day holiday. You can go on a short escape or go to their favourite destinations in Indonesia like Bali or Yogyakarta. On Pancasila day, Yogyakarta has a kite festival and Bali has an event known as the ‘Conversation between the Sky and the Earth’.
Pancasila Day is celebrated in Indonesia to honour the day it was created. They have a moment of silence to remember their fallen heroes, reading the Pancasila, the Andhika Bayangkari which is a song about Pancasila its ideologies, and then they raise the Indonesia Flag while saying prayers.
You can visit Indonesia to witness this holiday and take part in the celebration.