Can you imagine how lucky you are if you are in Indonesia on the 17th of August? This date marks the Indonesian independence day, a very special and important day for Indonesian people. If you are in the country on this date, make sure you don’t miss the celebrations and events, it is definitely worth it and for sure gives you an unforgettable experience. We asked our students to tell us a little bit more about this day and its meaning for them.
Let’s start with a little background of the history of this holiday. The country had been a Dutch colony for over 300 years, but on the 17th of August in 1945 the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was signed and read by Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta. Moreover, the national flag of Indonesia was unveiled: the red colour represents courage and the white one – purity. Since then, the Indonesia’s Independence Day is always celebrated on the 17th of August. This is the day of liberty and happiness – Indonesian people are very proud of their country!
At school, Indonesian children are preparing for their march walk weeks before the big day. When you drive around the streets you will see groups of children marching their way up, all to get ready and be prepared for the competition on the 17th of August. Schools in the same district compete with each other and it is amazing to see how well these kids practiced and march like real soldiers!
So how do Indonesians celebrate this meaningful holiday and what can you expect on this day? The day always starts and ends with the flag ceremony. The Indonesian president will do so on National television and all over Indonesia the local government follows him in this traditional and official ceremony where the Indonesian flag is being raised joined by marching soldiers and local officials.
The rest of the day is full with activities. Besides the marching competitions there are lot of exciting activities! Indonesian people organize majestic parades, heartwarming and soulful community gatherings, engaging and spectacular sport events (for example sack races), enjoyable cultural and arts festivals. Extreme and thrill lovers try to climb a pinang tree covered in soap to reach a prize – this is a very common amusing competition!
A compulsory nice addition to the Independence Day are delicious treats. Traditions of celebrating include eating the wonderful Indonesian crackers known as “kerupuk” hanging on a string. Take care of your fingers – you can bite them off with the traditional goodies!
When we asked our students what they love most about this holiday, the answers were divers. Some are enjoying all the games the most. Did you know that a lot of the games played are still coming from the Dutch but with an Indonesian touch? The boys are most excited about climbing the poles while the girls love to watch the parade.
One can choose his or her preferred way of celebration this national holiday but the one thing remains the same – the sense of pride and joy for the country! The atmosphere of the holiday is distinguished by excitement, enthusiasm, delight, glee and gladness!
Now then, the Independence Day is a very significant holiday, because it means the uniting, freedom and self-sufficiency of Indonesian people. It is the day of cohesion, friendship, love to motherland and respect for the past. What is important, even if you are not an Indonesian, you can join the holiday, feel its atmosphere and enjoy the amazing emotions! And we are going to celebrate the Independence Day with our students – so stay tuned!