Indonesian Public Holidays

The Government in a joint decree issued by the Minister of Religion, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration and the Minister, and the State Minister for Administrative Reform declared the Indonesian Public Holidays.

There are four types of holidays in Indonesia: religious, national, international and commemorative. Ones that are designated tanggal merah (literally red date, or a date that is designated in red on a calendar) signify national holidays when government offices, schools, banks, and most businesses are closed.

Many of the dates of religious holidays vary from year to year, as they are based on other calendars. For example, the Muslim holidays are based on the Islamic or Hijriah calendar, which is 10 to 11 days shorter than the Roman calendar every year. Other holidays, such as Easter, Chinese New Year and Waisak are based on lunar calculations, as in other countries where these holidays are celebrated.

Public Holidays 2020

Date Day Holiday
1 Jan Wed New Year’s Day
25 Jan Sat Chinese New Year
22 Mar Sun Isra Mi’raj
25 Mar Wed Bali Hindu New Year
10 Apr Fri Good Friday
1 May Fri Labour Day
7 May Thu Waisak Day
21 May Thu Ascension Day of Jesus Christ
22 May Fri Lebaran Holiday
24 May to 25 May Sun to Mon Hari Raya Idul Fitri
26 May to 27 May Tue to Wed Lebaran Holiday
1 Jun Mon Pancasila Day
31 Jul Fri Idul Adha
17 Aug Mon Independence Day
20 Aug Thu Islamic New Year
29 Oct Thu Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
24 Dec Thu Christmas Holiday
25 Dec Fri Christmas Day

Religious Holidays in Indonesia

The Indonesian government officially recognizes five religions: Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist and Hindu. As /images in other countries, each of these religious communities in Indonesia celebrate events that are important to their faith. Some of these are national holidays, others are not. The Ministry of Religion decides the dates on which religious holidays will be held each year. The following are faith-based holidays that are national holidays (tanggal merah) in Indonesia.

Muslim holidays in Indonesia

The dates for many Muslim holidays vary from year to year as they are based on the Islamic or Hijriah calendar, which is 10 to 11 days shorter than the Roman calendar.

Satu Muharam or Tahun Baru Hijrah – Muslim New Year – 1st day of Muharam

Marks the beginning of the new year on the Hijrah calendar.

Maulid Nabi – Birth of the Prophet Mohammad – 12th day of Rabiul Awal

Milad-un Nabi or Maulid (Mawlid) is the birthday celebration of the Prophet Muhammad. The month of Rabi’ al-Awwal (the First Spring Season) of the Islamic Calendar is well known in the entire Muslim world as Shahr al-Mawhid (the Month of Birth) of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad was born in the Arabian city of Mecca on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Awwal or the third month of the Muslim lunar year.

Isra Miraj – Ascension of the Prophet Mohammad – 27th day of the 7th month

Commemorates the ascension of the Prophet Mohammad to Heaven. Prayers are held at neighborhood mosques.

Hari Raya Idul Fitri or Lebaran – End of the Ramadan fasting month – 1 Syawal

The end of the month of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. Mass prayers are held in mosques and large open areas around the country. Celebrated with the traditional dish ketupat and visiting with family and friends. Charity donations (amal) are traditionally given at this time. Just prior to Lebaran a mass exodus (mudik) from Jakarta of millions of people occurs as residents return to their villages to celebrate with family and friends. Begging of forgiveness for any transgressions or slights in the past year is expressed during visits, Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin. A Lebaran bonus, THR, is traditionally given to all Muslim staff or employees prior to the holidays. In urban areas halal-bihalal (mutual begging of pardon) gatherings are held. This is the time of year when Muslims traditionally buy new clothes.

Idul Adha or Lebaran Haji – Muslim Day of Sacrifice – 10th day of Dzulhijjah

Commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son upon God’s command. Falls at the end of the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Mass prayers are held in mosques and large open areas around the country. Animals are sacrificed and the meat is given to the poor.

Christian holidays in Indonesia

Christian holidays fall on the same days as in other countries. The following are national holidays:

Wafat Isa Almasih – Good Friday – Commemorates the death of Jesus

Hari Paskah – Easter – Celebrates the day Jesus arose from the dead

Kenaikan Isa Almasih – Ascension of Christ- Commemorates the day Jesus ascended into Heaven

Hari Natal – Christmas – Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

Hindu holidays in Indonesia

Hari Raya Galungan – Galungan

Celebrates the coming of the Gods and the ancestral spirits to earth to dwell again in the homes of the descendants. The festivities are characterized by offerings, dances and new clothes.

Hari Raya Nyepi – Nyepi

Hindu Day of Silence or the Hindu New Year in the Balinese Saka calendar. The largest celebrations are held in Bali as well as in Balinese Hindu communities around Indonesia. On New Year’s Eve the villages are cleaned, food is cooked for two days and in the evening as much noise is made as possible to scare away the devils. On the following day, Hindus do not leave their homes, cook or engage in any activity. Streets are deserted, and tourists are not allowed to leave hotel complexes.

The broadcast facilities in Bali are also shut down for 24 hours from sunrise on Nyepi as a sign of respect for the beliefs of the Balinese people during the 24 hours of absolute silence. If you are in Bali in the days prior to Nyepi, you’ll notice a lot of Melasti ceremonies at the beach, enjoy the processions and he noices on Nyepi eve, and a very quiet day stuck in your hotel or home on the actual Day of Silence.

Hindu New Year

One of Indonesia’s most unique holidays is Hindu New Year. Hindu New Year is also known as Hari Raya Nyepi. Hari Raya Nyepi is a day of silence and self-reflection. Hari Raya Nyepi is celebrated on the first day of the Saka lunar calendar. The Hindu celebrations in Bali can last up to several days.

Buddhist holidays in Indonesia

Hari Waisak – Waisak Day – Vesak – May

Commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. This celebration is enlivened by religious and social activities in Buddhist temples around the country. In Indonesia, the largest Buddhist temples, Candi Mendut and Candi Borobudur, both located in the Magelang Regency of Central Java not far from Yogyakarta, are the focus of interest and attract those observing the holiday and tourists.

Three major historical events are celebrated on Waisak. The first is the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. The second is the acceptance of the divine revelation under the Bodhi tree. And the third is the journey of Siddhartha Gautama to heaven. These three big events occur exactly on the Full Moon Purnama Sidhi. Thus, Waisak is also very well known as Tri Suci Waisak or Three Holy Events. Buddhists celebrate Waisak by praying to their God Sang Tri Ratna as thanks giving for creating and maintaining the earth and its resources in harmony. It is very common for Buddhists to celebrate Waisak with the presentation of fruit, flowers and candles. For Buddhists, candles symbolize their philosophy of life, the sought-after enlightenment. Provinces with a relatively high percentage of Buddhists are Jakarta, Riau, North Sumatra, and West Borneo. Two of the large Buddhist monasteries are located in North Jakarta (Sunter) and West Java (Pacet), where traditional celebrations can be witnessed.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a public holiday that allows Chinese people to reunite with their families and celebrate the arrival of the new lunar year. Chinese New Year is always celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar, this holiday always occurs in January or February.