If you have any plan to visit Indonesia in May or June, either for vacation, business, or want to learn the Indonesian language, you will have a different experience than those who visit in other months. Why? Because it’s the holy month of Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims throughout the world as fasting month (sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran for Muhammad in accordance with Islamic beliefs. This annual commitment is considered as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29-30 days based on visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to many biographical records compiled in the hadiths.
The word Ramadan comes from Arabic ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means hot or dry. Fasting is mandatory for adult Muslims, except those who suffer from illness, travel, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetes, chronic pain or menstruation. Ramadan fasting is made of mandatory during the month of Sha’ban, in the second year after Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina.
The time for fasting is from dawn to sunset. At this time, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking fluids, drinking, and engaging in sexual relations. Muslims are also commanded to refrain from the sinful duties that can be rewarded, such as saying wrong (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting to help themselves.
Food before fast before dawn was called Suhoor, while a party after fasting after sunrise is called Iftar. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting winners will double in the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims is an increase in offerings of prayers, recitation of Quran and increased charity and good deeds.
Ramadan in Indonesia
Planning to visit Indonesia during Ramadan? Here are things you need to know about Ramadan in Indonesia.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan runs from mid-May to mid-June 2019, and if you plan to travel to Indonesia during this time, you will get an interesting experience. Like any other Muslim majority countries in the world, daily life in Indonesia changes dramatically during Ramadan. Because of this change, traveling to Indonesia during the month of Ramadan will give you the opportunity to see the new side of the country, as well as a challenge.
Like other big holidays in Indonesia, Ramadan affects the business sector. Some tourist attractions will continue to operate but with limited hours and staff. It is important to book accommodation, transportation and tours before you arrive to ensure that you make the most of your time. But in the regions that are mostly non-Muslims such as Bali, North Sulawesi, or Papua will not be significantly affected by Ramadan. Even so, it’s still better to plan ahead to avoid inconvenience during your trip.
For the Indonesians, the holy month of Ramadan has its own “scent” and vibes. After the Ishaa prayer in the evening, people will pray Taraweeh together in the mosques and some people will continue to read the Quran until midnight. At dawn, don’t be surprised if you hear verses from the Qur’an being read or mini-sermons delivered through loudspeakers from nearby mosques. The kids also usually wake people to Suhoor with drums and chanting. If you are a light sleeper, it is better to prepare earplugs.
In the afternoon, you can easily find the “pop-up market” on the road that sells food and drinks for Iftar. This is a great opportunity for you to find good Indonesian food at low prices. Some foods can only be found during the holy month so this can be the right time for you to try special Ramadan food and drinks.