August 25, 2012

Idul Fitri

This last week our family has experienced our first Idul Fitri here in Indonesia! Idul Fitri is the Islamic festival symbolizing the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Here, this is the biggest holiday of the year, and maybe is best compared to Christmas in North America.

The first night of Idul Fitri was pretty hard to miss, as half the town let off fireworks. Some neighbourhood areas also had full-on parades late into the night (hopefully video to come).

Java is the most densely populated island in the world, and in the lead up to Idul Fitri a mass exodus occurs from the large cities, such as Jakarta and Surabaya, back to where their families live in the 'smaller' cities and rural areas. One mass exodus! Needless to say, we knew enough to not even try to travel anywhere during this time. This year in Indonesia (in the 10 day period before Idul Fitri), 686 people were killed in road accidents, and another 1093 were severely injured. Crazy.

Part of the Idul Fitri tradition is for Muslims to have their neighbours, family, & friends to come over and visit their home. Although a Muslim holiday, Idul Fitri is also an intertwined part of Indonesian culture. As a result, most people - Muslim or not - will go and visit their Muslim neighbours to build relationships and show respect.
Above Amy and I are at our house helps' home! Usually they start by serving treats, and then it graduates into a full on meal. If they serve a full meal, they'll usually leave and let you eat alone so you will not be shy to eat as much as you want (that took a little getting used to, as the first time it happened to Amy and I, we were like, "Where did everyone go!?")

Helpful hint: If you are visiting multiple homes: Do not stuff yourself at the first house because you're going to be in a world of hurt at the next house as you attempt to not be rude and force more food into your already stretched belly.
Above, Ibu "K" (different than the other Ibu "K" who has the same name, whom I mentioned in a previous post) and her daughter. We have been very thankful for her as she has filled in helping us while our other Ibu "K" time off to have her baby.

It really has been such an honour for Amy and I to visit the homes of our Indonesian friends, to meet their families and see how they live. Although a bit hard to control the kids when they have have had too much sugar, it actually has bee alot of fun being able to participate in this part of their culture. Idul Fitri has also been a great opportunity to get to know neighbours. We are truly blessed!
Above, Amy and I at house #2 of the day eating more food! As you can see, the food has been served, and we are left alone to gorge ourselves :)
Charlotte with a cookie in each hand.  For children, I think the whole going from house to house and eating mostly junk food rings somewhat similar to another North American 'holiday'. At least if Simon or Luke yelled out "trick or treat!!" no one would know what on earth they were talking about.
Above is another home of a friend and his family.
Above Helena and Charlotte are with Linda and Grace, the daughters of Ibu "Y", who has been helping us with Charlotte and with our home since the 2nd week we moved here. They are an awesome Christian family, and we have had the chance to visit their home on several occasions. Since we were in the neighbourhood, we stopped by!
Above is Ibu "Y" with Charlotte...Notice the cookie in hand!  Ibu "Y"'s mother was a helper to various European and Australian families for over 30 yrs, most of them missionaries. It is not often you can visit a Javanese home, and have the Grandmother serve you homemade ginger-snap cookies!
Helena checking out a bird & lizard cage in a neighbour's yard on the walk home.
A big ol' Iguana.
Stopping for a quick drink! 

Last night we kind of wrapped up all the visiting in our own local neighbourhood - above and beyond all the homes above (phew). Our other friends close to our house invited our family along with them as they did their visits. We visited about 15 more homes locally. Not bad! On a whole, we're very proud of out kids being such good sports...for most of the time :)

No comments:

Post a Comment