Idul Fitri...

Idul Fitri or Lebaran are the popular terms in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) that refer to Eid El Fitri. We celebrate this glorious day after we accomplish the (hard) duties of dealing with our passions during Ramadan.

Eid el Fitri is the biggest religious event in Indonesia, the country with more than 80% moslem population. Different tribes in Indonesia that spread in more than 17,000 islands of the archipelago celebrated this special day in various cultural events, and here I share a little story of the Eid El Fitri in my hometown, Semarang, Central Java.

Eid is the moment when families are reunited, when people comes back to their hometown, thus the roads in the big cities are empty, and villages become alive with the people who returns..

Early in the morning, as the praises to Allah, our beloved God filled the air, the moslems walked to the mosques or open spaces to have the Eid prayer. That is the view I always miss, when thousands of people bow, pray, in sincere devotion... the prayer then continued with the Eid message, mostly the message of peace, forgiveness and brotherhood.

listening to the Eid message in a part of women section in Central Java Grand Mosque...

Then, we come back home. The traditional food await us on the table. Ketupat, the rice that is wrapped in coconut leave shells then cooked for 3 hours, opor ayam or a kind of chicken curry and sambal goreng, a dish made of potato, meat and a lot of CHILI :p, and kerupuk udang or potato chips are the dishes that you can find in almost every home in Semarang on that day. If you asked me about the taste, I only have a word about it: "YUMMY"!

clockwise: kerupuk udang, opor ayam, sambal goreng, ketupat

Last Eid I prayed in a new beautiful place in Semarang: Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah, or Central Java Grand Mosque. Below is a shot I took from the third floor, the beautiful architecture and the prayers...

a corner of Central Java Grand Mosque, after the Eid prayer

Eid is the time for establishing better relations with others. It's the time when you meet people that you don't usually meet, time to admit the mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. In Java we call it silaturahmi, and silaturahmi is identical to "sungkeman" tradition, where "sungkem" is a type of very respectful hand-shaking with the people that we respect, to ask for the good wishes, forgiveness and to show our respect to them. Silaturahmi is everywhere in town, when neighbours visit the neighbors, or when the important people in government, including our president, offer the open house and welcome their people.

I let myself drawn in the crowd of journalists after my prayer, to get the pictures of the Governor of Central Java, in the queue where thousands of people were waiting for their turn to greet our Governor and do a little silaturahmi. I was lucky to spot a man doing "sungkeman" to the governor with all his respects...

sungkeman to Governor

There are still many facets of the Eid that I haven't covered in this simple story. For me there are just so many beutiful things about this glorious happy day, the free feeling of forgiveness, brotherhood and friendship.

I love that feeling, and I think, that is why I always miss Eid El Fitri... :)