BEFORE the holy month of Ramadhan ends with festive Hari Raya Aidil Fitri this week, Indonesians have another reason to cheer as the nation celebrate Independence Day today.
This time, Indonesians celebrate the independence anniversary in a Ramadhan spirit. Indonesia gained its Independence on Friday, August 17, 1945, or 9 Ramadhan 1364 Hijriyah, and today's celebration also falls on Friday, 28 Ramadhan 1433 Hijriyah.
Traditionally, people put red-and-white flags and banners in their offices, homes and along the streets, roads and alleyways and hold various community games, such as balap karung (sack race), panjat pinang (greased-pole climbing) and makan kerupuk (cracker-eating) contest, although the last one may have to wait until after the breaking of the fast at dusk.
The celebration of Independence Day this year may see more subdued festivities due to fasting month, but the vast archipelago is still providing space for the spirit of nationalism.
Among the messages that Ramadhan sends is sensing the unity. In this month we sense that there is a possibility (and necessity) for unity.
Indonesia is a vast archipelago with more than 18,000 islands and hundreds of ethnic groups. It is time now to renew and strengthen the spirit of the nation's motto "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" (Unity in Diversity).
Friday, August 17, 2012
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