I’ve been in Indonesia for one year now, and I have become pretty good at doing things the “Indonesian way.” Indonesian culture can be quite different from American culture so, for the people who don’t have a year to figure out how to blend in, here are a few tips on how to act like an Indonesian.
Idul Fitri is the Indonesian name for the Islamic holiday: Eid. Indonesians also frequently refer to Eid as Lebaran. Eid falls on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar. Shawwal is the month immediately following Ramadan. This holiday is celebrated throughout the Muslim world. Eid festivities and traditions vary by region, but they typically consist of lots of food, praying, reading the Quran, and gatherings of family.
Ramadan is a torpid affair. Not much happens. For my cohort and me the vacuous schedules of our various schools gives us very little to do for our first month at our permanent site. All this free time is great for picking up new hobbies, exploring the desa, meeting the community, planning for lessons, or considering secondary projects to take on over the next two years. Unfortunately, I have done practically none of these things.
“It seems like Ramadan starts earlier and earlier every year.” Well, if it seems that way then it is only because it is true. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, and one lunar year is about eleven days shorter than its cousin, the solar year. So generally Ramadan occurs eleven days earlier than it did the previous year.