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Pancasila Day

Pancasila Day 2018 and 2019

Pancasila Day is a new official public holiday in Indonesia, having been declared such by the sitting president Joko Widodo in 2016.

YearDateDayHoliday
20181 JunFriPancasila Day
20191 JunSatPancasila Day
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However, Pancasila Day has actually been celebrated since 1945, though it was not a non-working day. Widodo’s decree simply moved Pancasila Day to a higher official status. June 1st was chosen for the observance because it is the day on which Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, gave a famous speech on that day in 1945, wherein he outlined five principles by which the new nation ought be governed. Sukarno referred to these principles as “pancasila” because, in Indonesian, panca means “five,” while sila means “principle.” June 1st is also the day on which Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands, after Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies at the end of World War II.

Today, with a new president, there is hope that pancasila will be fairly administered, and with newfound national holiday status, there is expectation that Pancasila Day will be more celebrated than at any time in the past.

Three things to do should you be in Indonesia for Pancasila Day are:

  • See the Pancasila Sakti monument in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta. It consists of seven statues of famous past leaders fronting a gigantic eagle with its wings outspread. The eagle is a statue of Indonesia’s coat of arms, and the shield it wears on its chest symbolises the five principles, the star on the shield’s centre representing monotheism.
  • Also in Jakarta, visit the National Museum of Indonesia, where you will find vast collections of artifacts from every corner of Indonesia, from every ethnic and religious group, and from every period of its long history.
  • On the east end of the island of Java, get a taste of Indonesia’s diversity in a single city, Surabaya. Here you see towering skyscrapers casting their shadow over colonial-era Dutch architecture. You also find minority sectors like Chinatown and the Arab Quarter with its 15th-Century Ampel Mosque.

On Pancasila Day in Indonesia, you will hear many political speeches in person or on TV and radio, and beginning in 2017, the celebrations may become more pronounced with its new status as a national holiday.