Islamic New Year is an important time for Indonesian Muslims, and is the celebration of the arrival of the new year according to the Islamic lunar calendar. In Indonesian, Islamic New Year is known as Muharram.
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This holiday also commemorates the founding of Islam and Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina. The Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, returned to Mecca after receiving a quest from God to spread the teachings of Islam to the world.
When Muhammad attempted to spread the word of God in Mecca, he and his followers were shunned by a group of polytheistic pagans. Tensions between the Muslims and the pagans soon escalated. Eventually, Muhammad was forced to lead his people from Mecca to Medina. This event is known as the Hjira. The Hjira marks the beginning of Islam and the Islamic calendar.
There are many traditions that people in Indonesia use to celebrate Islamic New Year. Many of these traditions cannot be found outside of Indonesia.
In many of the rural communities of East Java, Indonesian Muslims provide offerings of food to honour God. Common offerings include fruit, rice, and vegetables. The offerings, or Gunungan, are laid out in a central location.
After all of the offerings are gathered, a ritual known as Larung Pendam Sadi is performed. This is a ceremony that asks God for good fortune. It also shows God that the people of the community are thankful for the agricultural bounty that he has provided them.
In cities like Pontianak, many Muslims will participate in long marches. During these marches, the participants will perform prayers and reflect on their lives.