Wonderful Muharram at Blang Field, Bandar Aceh. Photo Source AW
Indonesians are celebrating the Islamic New Year (or 1437 Hijri in the Islamic calender) on 14 October 2015. It commemorates the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Madina and Indonesians celebrate the occasion in many ways. Most hold family prayers to mark the end of a year and the start of the new one but there are also other ways people in various other parts of Indonesia celebrate the blessed moment.
In Banda Aceh, the local government is holding a celebration entitled “Wonderful Muharram”. The celebration was kick started by having a mass preaching session followed by performances from Islamic song and dance group at Blang Padang Field on 13 October 2015. The following day, a big carnival featuring hundreds of students wearing Islamic costumes and parade of replicas of Islamic holy places was held at the main streets of Banda Aceh.
In another part of Sumatera on the eve of the new year, the Grand Mosque of Medan was filled with thousands of ummat who were conducting their dusk prayer (Maghrib) together with the Acting Governor of North Sumatera Province, H.T. Erry Nuradi. After the prayer, the Acting Governor then flagged off the pawai obor (long march where every participant holds onto a torch) which is a trademark event of Islamic New Year there.
Part of the Satu Suro ceremony in Sukarta. Photo Source WARTAinfo.com
Meanwhile, in Surakarta, Central Java, the celebration which is affectionately referred to as Satu Suro by the local citizens was attended by the Minister of Social Affairs Khofifah Indar Parawangsa and the Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo. Located at the Palace of Pura Mangkunegara, the event was started off with a silent walkabout of the palace’s sacred artifacts led by a member of the royal family. Then, the artifacts were bathed and cleansed with water. As part of the tradition, the water which was used to wash the artifacts was then distributed to hundreds of locals who packed the area.
These diverse ways of celebrating the Islamic New Year highlights how the myriads of cultures exist in the archipelago known as Indonesia.
– by Michael J Kristiono