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Independence Day

Independence Day 2018 and 2019

Independence Day in Indonesia is a public holiday that is centered around patriotism.

201817 AugFriIndependence Day
201917 AugSatIndependence Day
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The holiday is known in Indonesian as Hari Merdeka. Hari Merdeka is celebrated on August 17th each year. Hari Merdeka celebrates the foundation of Indonesia as an independent nation.

History of Independence Day in Indonesia

To understand the importance of Hari Merdeka to the Indonesia people, you must know about the events that led to Indonesian revolution. Prior to 1945, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. During this period, it was a common practice of European nations to colonize Asian nations for economic purposes. When Japan began to expand, Japanese leaders decided to support an independence movement in Indonesia to drive the Netherlands out of its sphere of influence. Achmed Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta collaborated with the Japanese military to reclaim Indonesia from the Dutch government. When Japan surrendered to the United States in 1945, Sukarno and Hatta feared that their window of opportunity was closing.

On August 17, 1945, Sukarno announced the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence. In Indonesian, the proclamation is known as Proklamasi Kerdekaan Indonesia. Soon after the announcement of the proclamation, Sukarno and Hatta used Japanese weapons and equipment to revolt against the Dutch government in Indonesia. The Dutch were initially driven out of Jakarta, but reinforcements ensured that fighting would continue until 1949. Weary of bloodshed, the United Nations blocked the Netherlands’ ambitions to go to war by calling for diplomatic measures. After ten weeks of tedious debates, Indonesia was granted its independence and Dutch forces withdrew from East Asia. In August 1949, the United States of Indonesia was founded.


Independence Day is one of the liveliest Indonesian holidays. Throughout the day, Indonesians of all ages participate in a wide variety of activities.

  • Flag Raising Ceremonies

    Flag raising ceremonies are held in nearly every city and town in Indonesia on Independence Day. A national flag raising ceremony is led by the Indonesian President. After the flag rises, a formation of fighter jets flies by. The Indonesian President will then deliver a few remarks about the progress of Indonesia. At the flag raising ceremony, a talented vocalist will sing the national anthem of Indonesia. The national anthem is called Indonesia Raya. It was originally written by Wage Rudolf Supratman in 1928. Indonesia Raya is a patriotic song that displays the spirit of Independence Day. This ceremony is broadcast on TV networks across Indonesia. Indonesians who do not get the opportunity to attend a flag raising ceremony will often watch one of these broadcasts.

  • Parades

    There are many parades in Jakarta and other major Indonesian cities on Independence Day. These parades consist of floats, marching bands, and various organizations. The marching bands are highly skilled and play patriotic songs that excite the crowds. The red and white colors of the Indonesian flag are used to decorate the floats and costumes of people in the parade.

  • Neighborhood Games

    Hari Merdeka brings together friends, families, and neighbors for a day of community bonding. People of all ages have the opportunity to participate in traditional games.

  • Sack Races

    Sack racing is a popular activity that allows people to relax and enjoy some friendly competition with their closest friends. The first person to complete the race will win a small prize and bragging rights.

  • Cooking Competitions

    Cooking contests have become very popular ways to celebrate Independence Day in Indonesia. During these competitions, Indonesians cook dishes from a variety of cultures. The winners of these cooking competitions will receive a token for their skills in the kitchen.

  • Palm Tree Climbing

    Palm tree climbing, or panjat pinang, is an event that involves people racing to the top of palm trees to win a bicycle or t-shirt. To make the race more complicated, the palm trees are coated with grease. Palm tree climbing is limited to male participants, but it is one of the strangest and most popular Independence Day games.

  • Kerupuk Eating Contest

    Children and adults also participate in kerupuk eating contests. Kerupek is a tasty shrimp cracker that is enjoyed by many Indonesians.

Historical Tours

In Jakarta, Indonesians can participate in historical tours to learn about the Indonesian Revolution. At the Battle Museum, people can learn about the military aspects of the Indonesian Revolution. At the Proclamation Monument, Indonesians can reflect on the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence. The Proclamation Monument is located at the spot where Achmed Sukarno announced Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch.

Historical Films

On Independence Day, many theaters screen Indonesian historical films. One of the most popular films is “Soekarno”. This movie tells the story of Sukarno and his role in the Indonesian Revolution. “Tjoet Nja’Dhien” is also a popular Indonesian Independence Day film.

Independence Day in Indonesia is a patriotic public holiday that allows Indonesians to spend time with their friends and family members while reflecting on their nation’s past.