Posted on December 25, 2015
Christmas in Bali – Everything you need to know about celebrating Christmas in Bali
Today adults get into a hurry, while meeting the preparations for the big celebration in the eve.
Today children eyes sparkle in expectation of the presents, their parents will give to them, hoping it is something from their wish list.
Today Christians from different cultures, in different parts of the world gather with their families and friends to ignite the spirit of Jesus’ birth.
Today love and peace come to the folks.
Today we hope and pray that love and peace come to the folks
Today we hope and pray that love and peace surrounds all those who are involved in Christmas festivities – in private as well as in public places.
Today we want to light a beacon of peace and tolerance.
Today we want to spread the light and be the light for all the religious minorities, fearing to live their religious believes due to harassment, persecution and violence of hostile opponents.
Today we want to raise our minds and hearts in the mutual spirit of freedom, peace and tolerance.
Merry Christmas, Selamat Hari Natal
Although Christmas is celebrated by a minority of Indonesians, the public interest is big. Christmas decoration in shopping malls, like Lippo Plaza in Kuta but also in hotels, restaurants and streets contributes to the right Christmas atmosphere.
Bali is a tourist hotspot during Christmas season. That’s why the island is putting quite some effort on creating this special Christmas magic that makes people hearts feel warm and joyful.
Interesting facts all about celebrating Christmas in Indonesia
25 million people celebrate Christmas in Indonesia
Around 10% of the country is populated by Christians. They represent the largest minority in Indonesia.
As there is no state religion, Indonesia is regarded as a harmonious rag rug consisting of different communities of faith belonging to the religions of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Budhism, and Confucianism.
Pancasila is how the state’s philosophy is called: belief in the one and only God.
The Indonesian head of state visits Christian communities, spreading the message of unity and peace
President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo will attend the annual national Christmas celebration in Kupang (capital of East Nusa Tenggara).
To spread the message of religious tolerance all over the country, the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) and the Indonesian Council of Churches (PGI) issued their annual Christmas message.
It shall remind the people to put harmony and mutual understanding above personal religious believes. Indonesia shall be a common home to all folks irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and race.
The Dutch introduced Christmas to the locals
In the early 18th century Indonesia was considered Dutch territory. In this time it was given the name ‘Dutch East Indies’. It was ruled by the Dutch East India Company, until World War II brought independence.
The Dutch way of life as well a their traditions had an influence on the Indonesian people. So did Christmas.
Even after Indonesia gained sovereignty, the Dutch Christmas traditions remained. A lot of Indonesians still celebrate Christmas by preparing Dutch pastry or making a wish to Sinterklaas.
Operation Candle ensures the safety of Indonesian Christmas services
‘Operation Candle’ is the code for the protection of the Christmas and New Year festivities by security forces, stationed at churches and public sites.
Indonesian Christmas services have experienced religious harassment on Christmas Eve 2000.
Churches in Jakarta, Java, Sumatera and Nusa Tenggara were attacked by radical Islamists, leaving dead and injured locals behind.
The memories are still present in the heads of the people, keeping the fear of new terror attacks alive. The atmosphere at public Christmas celebrations is tense and cautious.
Security patrols guarding churches and shopping malls cause an awkward feeling, especially on tourists, who are not used to police deployment. This makes it very difficult to enjoy the magic of Christmas.
The most popular Indonesian Christmas cookie is dodol
Dodol is a sweet sticky rice cake.
Silent night ‘Malam kudus’ is the most famous Christmas song
Silent Night is the worldwide most famous Christmas carol, composed by the Austrian Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818. Even in Indonesia Silent Night, Malam Kudus is sung in all Christian church services throughout Christmas.
Indonesian Christmas vs. Western Christmas: What to expect vs. What not to expect
Rain and humidity vs. snow and cold
Artificial or chicken feather Christmas tree vs. real pine tree
Balinese inspired decoration – Penjor vs. Western outdoor Christmas decoration
Annoying midi music in malls and markets vs. Gospel music and American Christmas pop songs
Exotic fruits cookies vs. Western butter Christmas cookies
Tropical cocktails vs. hot wine
Asian Christmas dishes vs. Western Christmas dishes
Indonesian Santa vs. Western Santa
Tropical island feeling vs. winter wonderland feeling