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Christmas

Christmas 2017 and 2018

Christmas Day is a joyous time of celebration in Indonesia.

YearDateDayHoliday
201725 DecMonChristmas Day
26 DecTueShared Public Holiday
(Christmas)
201825 DecTueChristmas Day

Christmas is a Christian holiday that is fairly popular throughout Indonesia. Many people are often surprised by the popularity of Christmas since the majority of Indonesians are Muslims. About 25 million people in Indonesian celebrate Christmas. In Indonesia, it is commonly referred to as Natal and is celebrated on December 25th each year.

History of Christmas in Indonesia

Christmas was most likely introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch. During the early 20th century, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. While the Indonesian people broke their ties with the Dutch in 1945, many Dutch influences remained in Indonesia. Indonesian Christians and the celebration of Christmas are some of the most obvious indicators of the Netherlands’ influence on Indonesian culture.

Celebrations

Christmas celebrations in Indonesia are massive. These celebrations bring family members and friends together to honor the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • Musical Concerts

    On Christmas Day, many local and national TV stations in Indonesia will broadcast live performances of Christmas music. These musicals tell classic Christmas stories that are well-known in Indonesia and other parts of the world. Christmas musical concerts in Indonesia often offer people the opportunity to hear Indonesian translations of Western songs. One of the most popular Indonesian Christmas songs is “Malam Kudus”. This is an Indonesian translation of “Silent Night”, a classic Christmas song in Europe and North America.

  • National Christmas Celebration

    On December 24th, the Indonesian government hosts a large celebration. This Celebration consists of various live performances. Singing, dancing, and acting are common acts during the celebration’s main show. The Indonesian government spends a large amount of money on the National Christmas Celebration every year, so it often showcases some impressive performances. The celebration is always broadcast to the public on Indonesian state-run TV.

  • Worship Services

    Many Indonesian Christians pay their respects to God and Jesus Christ by attending a church service on Christmas Day. Roman Catholics often attend a mass during the night of Christmas Eve. During these worship services, Christians often read verses from the Bible and sing hymns. Some of the most popular Bible verses come from Isaiah, Luke, and Matthew. At these worship services, children also perform reenactments of the Biblical Nativity.

  • Santa Clause

    Many Indonesian families celebrate this holiday with the legend of Santa Clause. On the night before Christmas, Santa Clause visits the home of all the boys and girls to give them gifts. This tradition has been adapted from the Western traditions. In Indonesia, the legendary giver of gifts is known as Sinterklass. This is another example of Dutch influence on Indonesian culture. Because of the excitement that surrounds the legend of Sinterklass and his gifts, many non-Christian families in Indonesia celebrate this aspect of Christmas.

  • Decorating

    To make their surroundings more festive and joyous, many Indonesian Christians decorate their homes and businesses with Christmas-related items. Plastic trees are placed into the homes of most Indonesian Christians. These plastic trees are often decorated with lights and ornaments. Indonesian Christians near West Java often purchase real pine trees to decorate their homes for the holiday season. The real pine trees are rare, but some people believe they are worth the extra effort needed to obtain them. Christmas trees made out of chicken feathers can also be found in the homes Indonesian Christians. The branches of these trees are made out of chicken feathers that have been painted green. Chicken feather trees are produced in Bali, Indonesia. While most Indonesian families do not decorate their homes with them, Christmas trees made entirely out of chocolate are also available for purchase in Indonesia during the holiday season.

Food

Christmas in Indonesia is celebrated with a wide range of dishes and treats. In most areas of Indonesia, the foods eaten during Christmas include a combination of local cuisine and traditional dishes. Cookies are commonly enjoyed throughout Indonesia on Christmas Day. The most popular cookies are the nastar, kastengel, and putri saldu. A nastar is a butter cookie that is filled with a pineapple jam. Kastengel is a Dutch cookie. Putri saldu is a butter cookie that is topped with powdered sugar and cheese. In the Papau region of Indonesia, roasted pork is the main food for Christmas meals. It is often served with spinach, sweet potatoes, or papaya. In North Sumatera, beef or pork is enjoyed after an ox or pig has been sacrificed.

Places to Celebrate

Nearly every major city is ideal for celebrating Christmas Day in Indonesia.

Christmas is an exciting Christian public holiday in Indonesia that allows people to relax while honoring the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.