Lebaran 2024: 6 Things Expats Should Know About Islamic New Year Holiday in Indonesia

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Muslims in Indonesia and around the world began their annual month of fasting on March 23rd, 2024. This fast is observed during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate a joyous holiday called Idul Fitri, known as Lebaran in Indonesia.

Idul Fitri is celebrated in different ways around the world, with each culture adding its unique traditions. In general, it’s a time to visit loved ones, enjoy delicious food, exchange gifts, and mark the successful completion of the fasting month. The name Idul Fitri means “becoming holy again” in Arabic.

In Indonesia, Idul Fitri or Lebaran is recognised as a major public holiday, alongside other important religious celebrations like Christmas, Easter, and Vesak Day.  In 2024, it’s expected to fall between April 11th and 12th. The Indonesian government has officially declared a national holiday and a collective leave period from April 8th to the 15th, 2024 in observance of Idul Fitri 1445 H.

Source: instagram.com/fredneust

Not only for the locals, this long holiday period presents a great opportunity for expats to explore Indonesia and experience the unique traditions of Lebaran. 

In this article, we would like to show you things you can do in Indonesia as an expat during Lebaran, and a few things you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable holiday experience.

Mudik Tradition and The Vacancy of Bustling City

Lebaran holidays typically involve a generous stretch of days off work. As an expat, you’ll likely notice a significant change in the atmosphere of big cities like Jakarta, as they become noticeably quieter during this period. 

This might be the result of Mudik tradition, a massive annual tradition where millions of Indonesians living in the cities return to their hometowns or villages to celebrate Lebaran with family. 

If you are an expat and planning to travel during this period, you should be prepared for delays. Book your tickets in advance or a few days after the Idul Fitri eve.

For you who would like to spend this holiday period in Jakarta, consider using this time to explore the city with less traffic or perhaps take short trips to less crowded destinations. Or you can take advantage of this slowdown to fully relax and recharge. Catch up on reading, try new hobbies, or simply enjoy the slower pace of life.

Ketupat, Opor, and Other Special Delicacies to Celebrate Lebaran 

Lebaran is synonymous with delicious food! Get ready for an array of traditional Indonesian dishes like ketupat (rice cakes in woven palm leaf pouches), opor ayam (chicken in coconut milk curry), rendang (spicy beef stew), and a vast assortment of sweets and snacks. Ask Indonesian friends or colleagues for recommendations and be prepared for a culinary adventure.

Or, if you would like to see more of the vast options of cuisines served during Lebaran, head over to our article Indonesia’s Eid Al-Fitr Cuisines You Should Taste!

Hampers

Hampers filled with snacks, drinks, and other goodies are a popular Lebaran tradition. If you’ve established close friendships with Indonesians, receiving a hamper is a sign of warmth and generosity.

If you’d like to try sending hampers for your friends in Indonesia during Lebaran 2024, consider creating your own hamper. Include a mix of local treats and items from your home country!

Meaningful Connections Through Silaturahmi 

Silaturahmi refers to the act of visiting and strengthening bonds with family, friends, and neighbours. While not exclusive to Lebaran, this tradition takes centre stage during the holiday. If invited, joining in a silaturahmi visit would offer wonderful insights into Indonesian culture and hospitality. 

Tips to express heartfelt greetings during big days in Indonesia  

If you would like to send wishes and greetings to your Muslim Indonesian friends during their big celebrations, be sure to address them modestly and try to learn a few basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia for greetings.

A common tradition in Indonesia during Lebaran involves greeting others with the phrase “minal aidzin walfaizin, mohon maaf lahir dan batin.” The first part, in Arabic, translates to “May you be among those who return [to purity] and among those granted victory.” The second part, in Indonesian, means “I ask for your forgiveness physically and emotionally.”

If you would like to learn more of useful Indonesian phrases, consider reading our guide to Useful Phrases for Any Traveler.

While Lebaran brings many festivities to the plate, as an expat in Indonesia there are still many essential things you should be aware of following the swift changes of daily flow during lebaran 2024. The following things are everything to keep you away from unnecessary troubles during Idul Fitri holiday in Indonesia.

Be aware of your Visa validity

Lebaran is a major holiday in Indonesia, and many offices, including government institutions, will have limited or no operations during the extended holiday period. Therefore, the Immigration Offices across Indonesia will most likely undergo an ineffective period during the first few days before and after Idul Fitri. That will also cause the volume of applications to lead up during Lebaran and can cause delays at immigration offices. 

For expats with visa validity due before 14 April 2024, it is highly recommended to initiate the visa extension process well in advance of the April 4th, 2024 deadline to avoid any travel disruptions.

Overdue Visas

If your visa extension faces delays, you might need to factor in additional costs for accommodation or rebooking flights if your original travel plans are affected. Consider contacting trustworthy visa consultants to help you through the complexities during the seasonal period.

Types of Offices Still Open During Lebaran 2024

It’s important to note that not all offices in Indonesia will be closed during the Lebaran public holiday. Some businesses, such as those in the healthcare, security, and public services sectors, may remain operational. Expats should check with their employers to confirm their office’s holiday schedule.

According to the Keputusan Menteri Tenaga Kerja (Kepmenaker) No 233/2003, Pasal 3, the following types of businesses are allowed to operate during the Lebaran holiday period.

Business should:

  • Provide essential services, such as healthcare, transportation, and security
  • Operate 24/7, such as hotels and restaurants
  • Involved in the tourism industry
  • Considered to be of strategic importance to the national economy

If your employer falls into one of these categories, then you may be required to work during the Lebaran holiday period. However, you are entitled to receive overtime pay for any hours worked during this time.

Arus Mudik and Arus Balik during Ramadhan 2024

The Lebaran holiday period is a time of mass migration in Indonesia, as millions of people travel to their hometowns to celebrate with their families. This can lead to significant traffic congestion on the roads, particularly during the arus mudik (pre-Lebaran) and arus balik (post-Lebaran) periods.

To anticipate the traffic congestion during the Lebaran 2024 holiday period, the Indonesian government has implemented a number of measures, including:

  • Ganjil-genap (odd-even) implementation for license plate systems on certain roads
  • The implementation of a one-way traffic system on certain highways
  • Contraflow traffic system implementation on certain roads

These measures are designed to help reduce traffic congestion and improve the flow of traffic during the Lebaran holiday period. Expats who are planning to travel during this time should be aware of these measures and plan their journeys accordingly.

Recommended reading: Everything You Need to Know About The Traffic Scheme During Lebaran 2024

Enjoying Lebaran 2024 as an Expat

The Lebaran period offers a special chance for expats in Indonesia to experience firsthand the rich cultural traditions and heartwarming spirit of this significant holiday.

The Lebaran holiday in Indonesia is a wonderful time to broaden your cultural horizons and create lasting memories. By embracing the spirit of the celebration, respecting local customs, and planning for potential logistical changes, you can make the most of this special time as an expat.

Selamat Idul Fitri!

Find this article helpful? Check out other articles from Social Expat for more updates about Indonesia Guide!





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