Diverse traditions that welcome the holy month in Indonesia
In Indonesia, prior to Ramadan, people visit their dead relatives' graves to pay their respects.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, which only adds to the diverse customs and traditions practised during Ramadan in the country. Traditions in Aceh will be different from those in Padang. It is noteworthy that in Indonesia, Suhoor is called sahur and Iftar is called buka puasa, which are translations of the Arabic terms.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, groups of young boys or individuals walk around neighbourhoods beating on 'bedug' drums and calling out "sahur, sahur" to awaken people for suhoor.
For Iftar or 'buka puasa', special foods are prepared for gatherings with family or friends. This tradition is called 'buka bersama'. Upon hearing the sound of the 'bedug' drum on the television or radio, as well as the call to prayer from mosques at sunset, Indonesians know it's time to break their fast.
In Indonesia, prior to Ramadan, people visit their dead relatives' graves to pay their respects. Indonesians call this tradition 'nyekar' or 'flower giving'. To welcome Ramadan, people dress their family's graves with beautiful flowers and scents.
Muslims in Indonesia usually break their fast with a very sweet drink and sweet snacks. Maghrib prayers are made before a full meal is served. Taraweeh prayers are held in neighbourhood mosques and at gatherings every evening.
Some of the most popular foods and drinks prepared during the month include unique Indonesian delicacies called kolak, es kelapa muda, es buah, es campur, cendol or dawet.
During the holy month, bazaars called Pasar Amal are organised by various civic, charitable and neighborhood organisations, where goods are sold at discounted prices to help the poor celebrate the holidays with new clothing and special foods.
Elaborately wrapped parcels, called Bingkisan Lebaran, are given by colleagues or associates to Muslims in the week prior to Eid Al Fitr or Lebaran as it is called in Indonesia. They are usually arranged in a rattan or wood basket and contain food, small household appliances or dishes.
Recipe: Es Campur
> 2 tablespoon grass jelly cubes (Indonesian: cincau)
> 2 tablespoon nata de coco
> 2 tablespoon basil seeds (Indonesian: biji selasih) that has been soaked in hot water
> 2 tablespoon avocado cubes (Indonesian: alpukat)
> 2 tablespoon fermented cassava cubes (Indonesian: tape)
> ½ cup shaved ice (Indonesian: es serut)
> 2 tablespoon sweet condensed milk (Indonesian: susu kental manis)
> 2 tablespoon coco pandan syrup
If the ingredients are hard to find, feel free to substitute with canned fruits, or other fresh fruits.
1. In a serving glass or serving bowl, add glass jelly, nata de coco, basil seeds, avocado, and fermented cassava.
2. Top with shaved iced, and drizzle with sweet condensed milk and coco pandan syrup.
3. Just prior to eating, stir everything together with a spoon.
(Source: Daily Cooking Quest)