August 17th – Indonesian Independence Day
Independence day is one of the biggest annual festivities in Indonesia – as a non-religious celebration and a national holiday the entire archipelago comes together to celebrate this historic day.
The people of Indonesia are extremely proud of their Independence and for weeks before the big day people are busy preparing for the celebration, games and festivities. Red and white bunting, ribbons, flags and banners are draped around houses, malls, schools, high rise buildings and streets throughout the country, from the major cities through to remote villages.
Independence Day Games
Games form a large part of any Independence day celebration and are embraced by adults and children alike. There are several games that are traditionally played each year and have been since 1945. The most famous traditional games include; Panjat Pinang, Lomba Makan Kerupuk, Pertarungan Guling, Lomba Balap Karung and Lari Kelereng which translate to Areca Tree Pole Climbing, Cracker Eating Competition, Bolster Fight, Goni Sack Race and Marble Race (a bit like the egg and spoon race we know in the west).
Independence Day at both Murex Manado and Murex Bangka was a LOT of fun as Murex Dive Guides and guests dived with the Indonesian flag and in the afternoon it was time for the traditional games. The Panjat Pinang (pole to climb) was greased and with 1 million Rupiah and various gifts placed at the top we saw an impressive display of climbing at both resorts!
Guests and staff joined in the games which took place after diving and carried on through to dinner time – by which point everyone involved had certainly worked up an appetite for some classic Indonesian cuisine to draw an end to another great Independence Day. Thank you to all of our staff and guests for sharing this special, annual event with us.
How much do you know about the history of Indonesia’s Independence?
The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, 17 August 1945 in a ceremony in which Sukarno, the president of Indonesia, made a speech proclaiming the colonial rule of the country by the Dutch East Indies had ended. Sukarno’s speech (since translated) stated that:
“We the people of Indonesia hereby declare the independence of Indonesia. Matters which concern the transfer of power and other things will be executed by careful means and in the shortest possible time”.
The constitution for the new Republic of Indonesia was known as “Pancasila” which set forth 5 key principles: Belief in one supreme God; Humanitarianism; Nationalism expressed in the unity of Indonesia; Consultative democracy; and Social justice. The new president also wanted to create a country which gave all citizens equal rights regardless of religion. To reflect and protect the diversity of the archipelago, Indonesia recognized five major religions, not just one: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Confucianism was later added as a sixth religion. It is from this that the official national motto of Indonesia was born “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” which literally translates to “Unity in Diversity”. The 5 principles of Pancasila and the national motto are reflected in the national emblem of Indonesia (pictured above)
Are you planning a trip to Indonesia? Come and join us here in North Sulawesi (the Land of Smiling People) and experience their warm welcomes and “Unity in Diversity” first hand.
Why not see even more of the spectacular region with a Passport to Paradise and dive three distinct diving destinations in one incredible trip. Discover the staggering coral walls of the Bunaken Marine Park, explore Bangka Island’s kaleidoscopic reefs and see some of the world’s rarest and most unusual marine life in the Lembeh Strait. Bunaken -> Bangka -> Lembeh, why choose when you can do it all? With boat diving transfers from resort to resort there is no gear drying, packing or wasted transfer days, we take care of the logistics so you don’t need to – you just dive, dive, dive!
We hope to see you soon in North Sulawesi.