Christmas Celebration is an event celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in Christianity and Catholicism throughout the world. In big cities in Indonesia, Christmas celebrations have several traditions such as having a vacation to return to their hometowns to gather with extended families, plant trees and sing Christmas carols, and exchange gifts.

Even though Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, several regions in Indonesia have several traditions of Christmas celebrations carried out by several Christian minority communities in each region.

The differences in traditions in this Christmas celebration cannot be separated from each culture and ethnicity. Here are some Christmas celebrations in various regions in Indonesia.

1. Bali

The people of the Island of the Gods who are familiar with diversity celebrate Christmas with Ngenjot and Penjor events. The Ngenjot tradition is carried out by sharing food parcels with neighbors, even though they have different religions.

In addition, Christians will also install penjor, namely coconut leaves on bamboo stalks in their homes. Christian homes look lively at Christmas time. The men, instead of wearing pentalon trousers attend church, they wear sarongs, and the women wear traditional Balinese clothes.

Seeing this, Jean Couteau in his book Bali Today: Modernity (page 111) writes that Christmas in Bali, which is heavily regionalized, is more influenced by Hindu culture than Western culture.

2. On the island of Java

In one area on the island of Java, which is called Kampung Tugu, Semper, North Jakarta, Christmas celebrations are held by visiting neighbors’ houses after church. Uniquely, after visiting, one of the family members who was visited had to participate and came to the houses of other neighbors. The group will grow bigger until they reach the last house.

This tradition is known as Rabo-rabo, a legacy from the Portuguese tradition. Many residents of Kampung Tugu also have their bloodline of Portuguese descent.

3. Manado

Different from other regions, Christmas in Manado began to be celebrated since December 1 with a prenatal service. This celebration is supported by the local government in the form of a Christmas Safari. Welcoming the holiday, Manado Christians will visit the graves of their relatives and family members.

Sometimes, the Manado people also decorate the graves with decorative lights. Meanwhile, the peak of Christmas celebrations in Manado falls on the first week of January. This tradition is known as the Taon Key, to lock or close the Christmas celebrations there. The Taon Key concludes with holding a parade around the city.

As Bruce David Forbes stated in Christmas: A Candid History (2007: 24), Christmas celebrations that fall in early January, such as in Manado, are associated with the Epiphany celebration which is popular among eastern Christians.

4. Ambon

Several churches in Ambon hold “Love Meals”, which are banquets for the poor and the elderly from an elderly guest house in Ambon. As written by Johannes Ludwig Chrisostomus Abineno in the deacons and diacons of the Church (2010: 60), these love feasts were enlivened with music, songs and speeches.

In addition, the celebration in Ambon is also marked by the sounding of church bells and sirens simultaneously on Christmas Eve.

5. South Sulawesi

In South Sulawesi, the local government of Toraja took the initiative to hold the annual Lovely December festival. This event is intended to welcome Christmas and the new year which aims to promote Toraja tourism. The striped buffalo will be slaughtered in early December to open the festival.

Various activities were also held to celebrate the Lovely December festival, such as traditional raft competitions, fishing competitions, folk games competitions, culinary exhibitions, regional crafts, and bamboo handicraft titles.

As reported by Antara News, the Lettoan procession by parading a pig with a three-dimensional symbol of life will be held to close the Lovely December festival.

6. Papua

At the tip of Indonesia, Papuans celebrate Christmas by holding Barapen or in Indonesian it is called the Bakar batu. The tradition of burning stone as fuel for cooking vegetables and pork.

Throughout the celebration, Christmas carols are played 24 hours straight. Some places are also decorated with trinkets and distinctive ornaments in each corner. Thus, Christians in Indonesia, even though they are a minority, are very concerned about maintaining local traditions and beliefs. Come on, get good and useful information from Indonesiar.com.

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