Unlike the country itself, Indonesia’s public holidays are not as diverse: Most are centered around the celebration of Islamic festivals since the people are predominantly Muslim.
Indonesians enjoy “cuti bersama” or long weekends that have been instituted to encourage domestic travel. The Coordinating Minister for the People’s Welfare has not yet announced the official Indonesia public holiday schedule 2014, so dates of the events listed below may see changes as 2013 ends, particularly those of Islamic holidays.
These holidays are considered “tanggal merah” or red dates, so state offices, schools, banks, businesses and other institutions are closed on these events.
Below is the Indonesia Public Holiday schedule 2014.
New Year’s Day 2014 –Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Christians and other confessional groups that use the Gregorian calendar may be a minority, but Indonesia observes the worldwide celebration of western New Year.
Tahun Baru Masehi 2014 – Tuesday, 14 January 2014
The birth of the Prophet Muhammad is a major Islamic holiday and this day is marked with the reading of Koran, listening to sermons, and getting together in mosques and public places to pray.
Chinese New Year 2014 – Thursday, 30January 2014
The Chinese, like the Christians, are only a small percentage (3.7%) of Indonesia’s population, but still 8.8 million ethnic Chinese is a sizable community to make the Lunar New Year celebration significant. Indonesian Chinese, like their cousins in the mainland, commemorate the departed members of the family on this day and hold solemn rituals to remember their hard work that laid the foundation of the present generation’s fortunes. Customs vary from island to island, but the main components of ancestor worship are incorporated in New Year rituals. Families get together, clean their homes, settle debts and generally tie loose ends in anticipation of the New Year. The usual Chinese tradition of gift-giving, preparing special tray for guests, and burning incense in temples and places of worship endure. The New Year in Indonesia also features firecrackers and the lion dance; the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the New Year is even observed in some Chinese communities.
Hari Raya Nyepi or Balinese Day of Silence 2014 – Monday, 31 March 2014
Bali is home to at least 93% Hindus. Consequently, Hindu festivals are seriously observed. The most important of them all is the Balinese New Year, or the Day of Silence. As the name suggests, this day is spent indoors in meditative silence. There are religious patrols checking the streets for loiterers, so tourists will have to stay in their hotels for the duration of the Balinese New Year.
Good Friday 2014 – Friday, 18 April 2014
Indonesia regulates the religious activities of its citizens. Roman Catholicism is one such religion approved in this Muslim-dominated country, along with other minor religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Christian communities, particularly the Roman Catholics, commemorate the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ with candlelit processions. In Flores, Catholic rituals, like the procession of the dead body of Christ, are more colorful and vibrant since this island was once under Portuguese control. In Central Java and Yogyakarta where there is significant Roman Catholic population, Christ’s crucifixion is reenacted, an event attended by thousands.
Hari Raya Waisak 2014 – Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Buddhism is a minor religion in Indonesia. Nonetheless, Hari Raya Waisak is a major Buddhist holiday that commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Monks and the lay celebrate this occasion by performing a pilgrimage to Borobudur in Central Java and making merits like offering food to the monks, listening to the chanting of scriptures, and burning incense.
Ascension of Jesus Christ 2014 – Thursday, 29 May 2014
This day commemorates the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. The largest gathering for the services is held in Jakarta, and millions more around the archipelago participate via satellite broadcasts.
Isra Mi’raj Nabi Muhammad or The Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad 2014 – Thursday, 26 June 2014
Another major Islamic holiday, the Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad culminated in his ascension to the heavens. On this day, the faithful gather for a prayer of thanks and to hear recitations of Koran. This is also the day when Muslims start their rituals of praying five times a day.
Lebaran or Hari Raya Idul Fitri 2014 – Monday to Tuesday, 28 to 29 July 2014
Ramadan or the month of fasting is a very solemn occasion for Muslims as fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Hence, at the end of this month, Indonesians move en masse to their provinces of origin to celebrate this important occasion with family. Days prior to Lebaran, business picks up as people buy new clothes, prepare traditional food and start their journeys back home. On the morning of Lebaran, the faithful gather in open spaces, mosques, parks and major streets to hold mass prayers. On the walk back home from this prayer gathering, people make quick visits to friends and members of their social circle to ask for forgiveness of past year’s mistakes as they forgive others for their transgressions. Lavish feasts are shared afterwards among members of the family and children receive gifts from their elderly.
Indonesian Independence Day 2014 – Sunday, 17 August 2014
On this day in 1945, the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read and led by Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta who were appointed President and Vice President, respectively, the following day. It would, however, take four years for the Netherlands to acquiesce to Indonesia’s demand for sovereignty. On this day, the Indonesian flag of red and white is hoisted at the National Palace, a solemn occasion attended by the President and Vice President, key personalities in the Indonesian government and military, members of the family of the present and preceding president, and diplomatic corps. Outside of the solemn ceremonies, communities gear up for a day of fun and games.
Idul Adha 2014 – Saturday, 4 October 2014
The Feast of Sacrifice is another important Islamic holiday commemorating the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismael. This day is marked with the slaughter of four-legged animals and the distribution of their meat to the poor.
Muharram 2014 – Saturday, 25 October 2014
The Islamic New Year is celebrated with solemnity. On this day, the faithful perform “satu suro” or deep meditation. In some regions, Muslims engage in self-reflection the whole night without sleeping and are only kept awake by puppet shadow performance.
Christmas Day 2014 – Thursday, 25 December 2014
On this day, Christians celebrate the day of their Savior’s birth.