Snapshots from Halal Bihalal

8 Sep

In East Java, the “most wonderful time of the year” has just passed. Ramadan and the following holiday, Idul Fitri or Hari Lebaran (or Eid-ul-Fitr or some variation of that in most parts of the world) is the equivalent to Christmastime in the U.S. The two celebrations/holiday seasons are far different but do share a few common threads…they’re the most significant religious holidays (respectively speaking), they disrupt the daily rhythm of life (though in different ways) and both tend to send people into a shopping frenzy on the brink of their concluding. So we’ve just gone through our version of that here, and things are pitter-pattering back to normal.

Ramadan in general was much more enjoyable than last year. It spurred deeper connections and observations into the Islamic faith and my community. It also made me rather sentimental during the last breaking of the fast, knowing it’d likely be my last time participating.  In addition to fasting, I also choose to go on the mudik, a jumble of nearly everyone on one of the world’s most densely populated islands hitting the road and heading to their hometowns to visit family and friends all at the same time. It was slightly chaotic.

Included in all this is Halal Bihalal. During Halal Bihalal you ask forgiveness from any former wrongdoings on your part towards that person with the phrase “Mohon maaf lahir dan batin” which roughly translates to “I’m apologizing from my heart and soul.” I’ve seen this said with the kind of sincerity it implies, but in many cases it came off less so.

Therefore the last few months have been pretty busy with the false start of school blending into the holidays, time off, holidays, celebrating, traveling around. I hadn’t captured quite as much of Ramadan as I had hoped to, but I’ll leave you with a few photos from the Halal Bihalal celebrations at my school with my school being my strongest tie to my community other than my host family.

Halal Bihalal is celebrated, as many things are in Indonesia in gathering together with family and friends, ceremony, prayer and food. Above are pictures from Halal Bihalal celebrated among teachers and staff the day before school resumed from the two week break. The photos below are from Halal Bihalal celebrated the next morning with students before lessons began.

38 Responses to “Snapshots from Halal Bihalal”

  1. Vn-Japan September 12, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    :( Thank

  2. Vlad Radion September 12, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Thanks for sharing, great blog.

  3. jalal michael sabbagh September 12, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    There is a great difference between CHRISTMAS and ED AL fitr.The First one means the salvation of the world. The second one means no more fastin Please don’t make such mistake.

    • Nicole September 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      I totally get that, I was less so making observations on the religious differences (obviously there are great differences, and I don’t really want to get into that) and more making observations on the social and cultural implications that I see as a foreigner here. Regardless thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • insuranceftw September 13, 2012 at 3:01 am #

      Thanks, someone had to say that.

  4. ilhammenulis September 12, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    mantap, masuk freshly pressed wordpress :D

    • Nicole September 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      Terima Kasih! Dan terima kasih atas memeriksa blog saya : )

  5. rmk September 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    There are so many cool Peace Corps stories out there. A pleasure to read. Makes me want to join — too bad only Americans can do that.

  6. ururu5 September 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    its not in East Java only.. Muslims all around the world celebrated the “most wonderful time of the year”.

    its a misconception. but the one we Muslims should celebrate is Ramadhan. not Eidulfitri. but since it had become a tradition. we celebrated Eidulfitri instead.

    • adzharaziz September 13, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      The term celebrate is misunderstood here. We muslims celebrate both the coming of Ramadhan and Syawal or Eidul Fitri. We welcome Ramadhan because during this month, despite the requirement to fast..there are many heavenly advantages bestowed upon Muslims who keenly observed what we have learnt to do in the month of Ramadhan.

      We’re celebrating Eidul Fitri or the coming of Syawal as a symbol of success in completing what required upon each muslim in Ramadhan. It was like a “graduation day”.

      In the morning of the first Syawal, there is obligatory prayer for each able muslim to attend the mosque and praying would be communally performed. IT going to be a sermon by the imam who would be make an official farewell to Ramadhan and we would pray that each and everyone of us would again be granted another Ramadhan next year.

      We would also, offer our gratitude to Allah for giving us the opportunity to complete the Ramadhan’s rituals properly, hence the Eidul Fitri is celebrated as a day of success.
      In Malaysia, we celebrated both occasions because of religious obligations and of course, a tradition too that cultured from various backgrounds.

      • Nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:31 am #

        Thanks for the clarification. I did attend the mosque on Idul Fitri with my host family, but as I’m sure you can understand, sometimes things can get lost in translation. So thanks for filling me in on the reasons and meaning behind what I see as celebration here during this special time of year for Muslims. And thanks for visiting and commenting!

  7. Saajida September 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting to see how Muslims from other parts of the world celebrate Eid ul Fitr. There are an equal number of differences as well as similarities and each have their own logic and reasoning that broadens your perspective. :)

    • Nicole September 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Thanks! And I like the way you think ; )

  8. crimsondaisy September 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Being in an Islamic country I know the Eid celebrations and it is always nice to see each country celebrate it in its own unique way.

  9. September 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    great post girlfriend. Enjoying all the comments below! :o Way to be on freshly pressed

    • Nicole September 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      Yay thanks and I know it’s super exciting! I feel like I hit the lottery!

  10. free penny press September 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Thanks for an enlightening post!! Congrats on being FP as well :-)

  11. Red Toenails September 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    I love learning about other cultures. Thanks.

  12. plainmuslimah September 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Salaams. If you talk about a religion, it would be ideal not to compare it with doctrines of another. It distracts the reader from the heart of the point you are trying to make.
    Other than that, great read :)

    kind regards. Wasalaams

    • Nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. littlecitybot September 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    wow! beautiful images!!!!

  14. Himawan Pradipta September 13, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I didn’t realize you are Indonesian! Congrats on being freshly pressed! :)

    • Nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks! And I’m actually not Indonesian. I am a Peace Corps volunteer from America living here for two years. So I try to share my experiences on my blog of what life is like here from my perspective. Thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed the post!

      • Himawan Pradipta September 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

        Yeah, I’d already written my comment before I read your “What is The Peace Corps” page. That sounds interesting. Can’t wait for another experience you’ll find in Indonesia ;)

      • Nicole September 15, 2012 at 9:31 am #

        Right, well thanks again for stopping by : ) Joining the Peace Corps is a pretty interesting experience

  15. Elle Chang September 13, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    you rock! since i know you, i feel like i’m being freshly pressed by association. is that weird?

    • Nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:06 am #

      Nope I don’t think that’s weird : ) Rock on!

  16. Sword of Apollo September 13, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks for the pictures.

  17. Sabrina September 13, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Great post!

  18. Miss A September 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Love the pictures =)

  19. Ashagi Harahap September 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Reading comment here (especially about from another Muslim from another country) made me realize Halal Bihalal is uniquely Indonesia. I always question this — does it uniquely ours or did other Muslim celebrate Halal Bihalal like we do? And the question was answered

    Nevertheless, I was really interesting how you sums up our custom from non-Indonesian perspective. Looking forward for the next post. Keep up the great job.


    • Nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      It’s interesting hearing what other Muslims say or for me what other friends (foreigners and non-Muslims) living in predominantly Muslim countries say about Indonesian customs regarding Islam. This is my first experience living in a predominantly Muslim society. In the U.s. I sadly did not know any Muslims well or personally. Therefore this is my only experience of Islam and from what I understand, as with many religions and cultures, customs and the way a religion is practiced varies greatly from place to place and even person to person. I find this fascinating and wonderful! And I am certainly enjoying the experience I have here, and would be curious to experience and see how Islam is practiced in other places. Thanks for your comments and thanks for following along : )

      • Ashagi Harahap September 14, 2012 at 10:08 am #

        Yeah, even in Indonesia, Islam is very diverse. There’s no single type of Islam when it come to rituals and ceremonies in Indonesia. Like “Grebeg Maulud”, ceremonial celebration of The Prophet Muhammad birthday only exist in Java (Yogyakarta and Surakarta), you can’t really find it in other places.

  20. qwophicedi September 14, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Thumps up on this one. I am sure it should pinch me to do something with my camera a lot now adays.
    I blog at :

  21. mboke September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Oh wow… nice post :D

  22. maziarworld September 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    It was very nice to know the customs of the celebration in other parts of the world.

  23. vnrw75 September 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    This show love and community!

  24. sromel September 24, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    Thanks for sharing.

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