When: Expected to fall on August 19-20, 2012, but varies depending on local sighting of new moon
Where: Lebaran is the Indonesian version of Muslim Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan
Lebaran 2012 is celebrated at the end of a month-long fasting. Fasting is core to a Muslim’s spiritual and physical cleansing process. Fasting is one of a devout Muslim’s obligations.
During Ramadan (the month of fasting), Muslims should not eat, drink, smoke, get angry or even perform marital functions from sun up to sun down. They should not also indulge in impure thoughts, language and habits before Imsak (sunrise) until maghrib (sunset). A certain segment of the Muslim population is exempt from performing this religious purification ritual: pregnant women, women having their monthly periods, breastfeeding women, children, the sick and infirm, travelers and the mentally ill.
About the Event
Hari Raya Idul Fitri, or locally referred to as Lebaran, is a national holiday in Indonesia that usually lasts for two weeks and culminates at the end of Ramadan which coincides with the local lunar observation (new moon). Because the Muslim calendar is lunar, Ramadan itself changes from year to year, and so does Lebaran. This year, Lebaran is expected to fall on August 19-20.
Lebaran 2012 is not only a celebration of returning to normal eating schedules and such. It is also a religious imperative for families to gather and ask for forgiveness from family members and friends for any wrongs they may have committed against them in the past year. Lebaran starts with an early morning mass prayer at mosques, open fields, parks and even major streets. On their way home, the faithful then visit friends in the neighborhood to ask for forgiveness.
Once home, families gather together and share traditional food, give gifts to children, wear new clothes, and seek forgiveness from their parents and other senior members of the family by going to their houses and sharing their food. From an outsider’s point of view, Lebaran is Indonesia’s version of religiously sanctioned family reunion.
Shortly before and during Lebaran, noise levels, even before sunrise, are going to increase and become more celebratory as the end of Ramadan approaches. Two weeks before the end of fasting, shopping peaks to the point of festive. Around the time Ramadan ends, the prices of food and clothing increase, taking cue from the massive demand as households who rely on domestic help eat out and families buy new sets of clothes in anticipation of the holiday.
Traveling during Lebaran would entail massive logistical problems for the traveler himself/herself even if s(he) is not obliged to directly participate in the purification ritual. Millions of people go home to their native provinces during Lebaran, and come back to their place of work, mainly in major cities, at the end of about 10 working days. Those who go back often bring along relatives who want to find employment in the cities. This means that the inflow of traffic in the major cities like Jakarta can easily double at the end of Lebaran.
Hotels have creatively crafted Lebaran “escape packages” to appeal to households whose domestic helpers have gone home or travelers who are “caught” in the festivities.
Lebaran 2012 is a national holiday intended not only to allow Indonesian Muslims to physically and spiritually cleanse, but also to reunite with their families. As a traveler and outsider, it would be best to avoid the massive flow of humanity during this period, unless the traveler himself/herself wants to plunge head on and experience Indonesian culture in all its tumultuous facets.A Very Happy Lebaran 2012 Wishes to Everyone.!