Asean Korea: Unforgettable Fasting Month Experiences of Indonesia
As Ied comes, fasting month has already been over. The month is being awaited by devoted Moslem each year, and after it’s passing, it makes them missing the month more. Fasting month or Ramadhan is special not only because its significance for Moslems in Indonesia, but also for the amount of special activities held. There are many activities happened only in Ramadhan, and a few of them are quite unique and forgettable. Activities held before the fasting month can be read in my previous article.
Waking People Up
It’s common advice to spend the night and early morning inside one own house, especially for children. In Ramadhan, that’s not the case for many Indonesian children. As dawn usually comes around 4-5 in the morning and people not wanting to have their breakfast in a hurry, it’s common for children to gather as early as 2 o’clock to go around the neighbourhood to wake people up using makeshift instruments, from kentongan (alarm made from bamboo) until water gallon.
Sahur on The Road (Early Breakfast on The Road)
For Moslems, it will be the best to have early breakfast each day before the dawn comes. Unfortunately, there are many other people who can’t afford the luxury of satisfying breakfast to start their fast. This is one of the reason for people to organize funding to provide meal to people in need. Visiting the people and giving the meal one by one and not spending the money for lavish breakfast, hence the name Sahur on The Road. It’s not only for sahur (early breakfast), but also for buka (breaking of fast).
Ngabuburit is all kinds of activities done by people to wait Maghrib call (sunset) to break their fast. Ngabuburit activities can range from learning to recite the quran, reading book and watching movies at home, until the most common, spending time to take a walk or do shopping. Not wasting the opportunity up, many people will utilize the occasion to sell many drinks and food, resulting in Pasar Kaget (lit:Sudden-Market) that starts from 2 hours before sunset.
Buka Bersama (Breaking of Fast Together)
Buka Bersama, or eating meal together to break the fast is one of the tradition to enliven the holy month of Ramadhan. In almost every mosque, there will be snacks or dinner provided for people who come to pray after the Maghrib call. Usually every household will contribute the meal for at least one night for the mosque in the neighbourhood. If you are a student, jokingly, you can utilize this arrangement to save your monthly budget by visiting the nearest mosque for dinner. Not only in the mosques, in many public places, some free snacks and drinks will be provided for the visitors. Buka Bersama can also be used as a method of arranging reunion. In Ramadhan, you can have your college, workplace, elementary school, and other kinds of reunion’s invitation lining up.
In Indonesia, mudik, or going back to one’s hometown is done in Eid al-Fitr and not in Eid al-Adha. It usually starts around one week before the date and ends about one week after. In these two weeks, school will be closed and many activities will be put on hold to make the time for going to one’s birth city and his/her family. Because everybody wants to go back home, the road will be very packed, the tickets has to be booked months before, and the capital city of Jakarta, fully filled by migrants in normal day, will be the emptiest.
From the sunset on the day before Eid al-Fitr until the morning before the Eid Prayer starts, it’s advisable for Moslems to recites takbir, hence the name takbiran comes. Children and adults alike will recite takbir over and over while walking in rows around the neighbourhood. Becau se it’s dark at night, torches will be lit, resulting in torches being identical with Takbiran. Takbiran is a big event, some mosques will held competition for takbiran troupes, and parents will line up in front their house to greet the children when they pass through.
The fasting month has already been finished, to meet it again we need to wait for next year. All the traditions done to welcome and to celebrate the month can’t be seen until next year. Holidays are mostly happen once in a year, that’s why they are big events, and that’s why they are also very memorable.