Indonesia’s Independence Day

The Indonesian Independence day is celebrated to a lesser extent in Bali than in the rest of Indonesia, but especially in the larger towns you have a good chance of experience celebrations.

Independence Day is celebrated on August 17. The day when the proclaimers of Indonesian independence-Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed the independence of Indonesia from the Dutch and Japanese authorities. People decorate their house and the streets with red and white ornaments which represent the colors of Indonesian flags. The Indonesian has various ways to celebrate it, both formally and informally.

Formally, Indonesians usually celebrates the Independence Day by doing flag ceremonies in schools and offices. Students are gathered in the field wearing uniforms, singing national anthems, praying for the late national heroes and reread the proclamation text. Similar activities are carried out at offices; both in governmental and private offices where workers gather to flag ceremonies in front of their offices.

After the flag ceremonies, the more informal celebrations start with all kind of competitions taking place. The competitions include kerupuk(chips) eating, climbing palm trees greased with oil, sack races, getting nailed tied to a string into a bottle and many other party games. In addition to being entertaining all the games also has symbolic value and serves as reminder of the time before Indonesia had its independence. For example, eating kerupuk is a reminder of how people lived in poverty during the colonization. Climbing the palm tree symbolizes the effort it took to gain independence. The competitions are joined by people of all ages, genders, and professions. The young and old, men and women, students and workers, the rich and commoners are all joining in.

In Bali, the celebration of Independence Day is not as excessive as in other Indonesian provinces. The Balinese usually decorate their house in red and white decoration and put a flag in front of their house and school kids and workers attend the flag. But unlike most of Indonesia competitions are only in some areas, mainly in the larger towns.

Some of the younger Balinese marks Independence Day with concerts or philanthropic acts like visiting an orphanage, a senior citizens home or by donating blood.