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Celebrating Idul Fitri

The month-long fasting season of Ramadan has ended, well sort of. The Indonesian government decided that the sun wasn’t in the right spot, so fasting will end tomorrow. But if life on the streets of Jakarta tonight was any indication, most people were done fasting. The month-long sunrise to sunset fasting (food, water, sex) is over and people were going crazy all over the city with fireworks going off everywhere. Some friends and I ended up buying fireworks of our own and after setting them off we headed up to the roof of a friend’s apartment and looked down on the celebrations below. Fireworks were going off everywhere and it was extremely noisy with chants from mosques and general noise.

People were setting off fireworks everywhere. After we bought ours, a security guard saw them and then encouraged us to set one off in the street right by him, even though there were plenty of cars on the street. I’m not going to question the legality of these fireworks or the safety. Yes, this firework below was one of the ones we set off. We certainly got a bang (well many) for our buck.

Ramadan (the month when Qu’ran verses were first revealed to Muhammad) feels a lot like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. There is a mass exodus out of Jakarta – around 15 million people in the greater area – who are all going back home to celebrate Idul Fitri (the end of Ramadan) with their families. Think big meals and quality family time, plus tons of mall decorations adding a commercial aspect to it all.

I’m really glad I was in Jakarta tonight and out and about. It was really interesting witnessing something much bigger than a few people on a roof watching it all.

Selamat Idul Fitri to all.

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