If you come to Indonesian in August, you will find flags are installed and rippled everywhere. Many ornaments with shades of red and white decorate various places and buildings. This indicates Indonesian will celebrate the country's Independence Day very soon.
17th of August is the moment where you can see the diversity of Indonesia all at once by celebrating the day with exciting events or activities everywhere throughout the country. Some of Indonesians would officially celebrate it by joining a flag ceremony, while some other would be interested in conducting some events too.
Year by year there would always be something unique in the independence celebration. However, every year there are likely mandatory events, from the flag ceremony to the cultural art performance. Here we share the events or activities of Indonesians reviving the spirit of Independence Day.
The day would start with the flag ceremony, and if it’s possible, end the day with the same event. At school, Indonesian students will be busy preparing the ceremony. From a very formal ceremonial procedure until traditional games which would be played in groups. Some institutions—especially government institutions, would instruct the employees to do so as well. They are required to arrive at the office earlier than the daily schedule and do the roles such as Head of Ceremony, Ceremony Protocol, for Flag Raising Staff.
The Indonesian President would conduct the Independence Day ceremony at the Merdeka Palace that would be aired by national broadcast networks.
In Indonesia, there is a flag raises a team that consists of 16 or 17-year-old teens. They are chosen to be the member of Paskibraka through the tight selection. Paskibraka is an abbreviation of Pengibaran Bendera Pusaka with the primary task of raising the duplicate of heritage flag in the ceremony of the proclamation of Indonesian independence in three places such as Regency/Municipal level, Provincial, and National. The members must come from high school student grade 1 or 2.
Hoist the Flag on the Mountain Peaks or in the Deep Sea
It is somewhat satisfying for adventurers to bring the national flag along with them on the journeys and hoist it wherever they go to mark the Independence Day. The climbers would do so on the peaks while the divers choose to dive deep in Indonesian seas and hoist in the deep sea with ceremonial gestures.
Carnival and festival
Carnival and festival are mandatory for celebrating independence. The carnival for the independence celebration is always held outside of Jakarta. That’s because President wants all Indonesians to celebrate freedom together. In 2017 the carnival was held in the Capital of West Java. So, the ownership of the celebration is felt by Indonesian society outside Jakarta. Moreover, the carnival and festival also conducted in most cities and region around Indonesia.
Traditional Games as the Lens to Look at the Diversity of Indonesia
If one wants to experience going in a time machine to look closer at the colonialism era in Indonesia, watching the locals playing the traditional games would be one of the choices. It is partly because most of the Indonesian traditional games are adopted from the Dutch colonialism era with a little touch of traditionalism.
You would notice that the boys and the men will enjoy the greased pole competition they would race on to reach the various prizes which set on top of the pole! One could think it’s the bizarre way to celebrate the Independence Day until they join the crowds and see people are all prepared for the sack race, shrimp cracker eating contest, the marble-ball-on-a-spoon race, and other traditional games to play along!
Wearing unique/traditional costume
The tradition of celebrating the independence is also done by wearing the unique costumes. The costumes usually are worn for being the most creative and the best performers many wear costumes to follow the race or parade.
The costumes could be varied such as the kebaya, traditional dresses, outfit for the veteran, professional costumes for kids, and so on. This costume parade usually held in most of the regions in Indonesia. It is aimed to illustrate the diversity in Indonesia.
The forerunner to the marching band is from the band drum group created with the purpose of collecting the mass. But over time the drum band function shifted towards entertaining because of its prominent musical aspect, from where the marching band emerged. The military bands whose contents are all with the aim of organizing troop moves to be neatly in line, it became the beginning of the formation of marching band.
Marching bands developed after the World War 2, where war veterans made musical corps playing nostalgic mars songs while parading around the city in celebration ceremonies such as independence of Indonesia.
The Panjat Pinang has always been the culmination of all the competitions of the August 17th event. Panjat Pinang game has been popular since the Dutch colonialism. The procedure in the game of Panjat Pinang has not changed since the first. The prizes hanging on the top of the pinang stem are also growing.
Nowadays, some games hang prizes in the form of television, fan, and some other electronic goods at the top of the pinang stem. A high pinang trunk is plugged into the ground with very deep depth to ensure that the pinang tree will not fall/shake when the participants climb it. The soil around the pinang sticks that are plugged in must be soft so that when the participant falls, it will not cause a fatal accident.
Kerja Bakti (Community Works) as a Persisted National Identity
It is almost impossible to have this kind of works in urban areas. Mostly found in rural areas of Indonesia, Community Works or Kerja Bakti is often being held a week before the Independence Day to improve the public facilities such as road, mushola, or plant more trees; as a means to reinforce mutual cooperation at the community level. The activity itself is actually the realization of a national identity of Indonesia, Gotong Royong (Mutual Assistance).
Cultural Art Performance
Most regions in Indonesia usually held a series of events throughout the month. Some of them would conduct some art exhibitions, painting exhibitions, and even the craft exhibition.
Some other would prefer held the art performance like Puppet Teather performance, traditional dances, and other cultural art performance. It would only happen at a special event in the month of independence.