In August 17, 1945 Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch Government. Until now, people celebrate the memorable moment by doing 17an (read: tujuh belas-an). In this case, many Indonesian who live overseas also don’t want to miss out the celebration of this day. The flag of red and white is risen with the greatest honor and respect as a sign of patriotism and nationalism. Here’s a look on what Indonesian do to celebrate 17an overseas.
1. Indonesian Traditional Performances
The best way to introduce your homeland’s culture is by performing the culture itself. In Canada, the Indonesian Independence Day is being celebrated by performing the traditional arts and music such as Ronggeng Blantek, Pencak Silat and Angklung. Moving on to other place, in London, the United Kingdom, people celebrate by enjoying various kinds of entertainment such as live music, kebaya fashion show and Indonesian food stalls.
2. Indonesian Traditional Games
In Germany, people choose to celebrate the Independence Day by competing the nostalgic traditional games which are the traditional lomba makan kerupuk (cracker eating game), marbles rally, lomba karung (sack racing game) and the highlight which is the tug-of-war game. Going back to Asia, Singapore also did the same way to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day in their country with the additions of live music by Indonesian singers and various parties organized by the students’ communities.
3. Sport Events and Movie Screenings
In Santiago, people celebrate it in unique ways which are sport events and movie screenings. The sport events include badminton, bowling, table tennis and chess while the movie screenings play Indonesian famous movies such as Laskar Pelangi, King, and many more.
4. Flag Raising Ceremony
Despite the mentioned events and parties above, every single Indonesian Independence Day celebration started with Flag Raising Ceremony. It involves the activity of singing the national anthem Indonesia Raya, Hari Merdeka, Mengheningkan Cipta and many other songs, then the red and white flag is raised as national symbol of courage (red) and purity (white). It is an important object as a declaration mark of Indonesia as an independent nation.
The celebration of 17an is believed as the moment when every Indonesian all around the world feels homesick on the nostalgic traditional games, foods and flag raising ceremony. This year, President Joko Widodo will become the leader of the flag raising ceremony. Standing with our state’s ideology – Pancasila and our motto – Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), let’s splash the national colors of red and white around our homeland.
“I think this event is very important for Indonesian citizens to maintain our spirit of patriotism, respect, and love for our homeland. Since we (the diaspora) are immersed in a different culture every day, our sense of nationalism will fade if we do not have these activities as reminders.” – Novian Herbowo, The President of Indonesian Students’ Association in London