Islamic New Year is a holiday that celebrates the arrival of a new year on the Islamic lunar calendar. This holiday also honors the founding of Islam and Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina. While Islamic New Year honours some important moments in Islam, the holiday in Indonesia also celebrates various cultural groups.
There are many traditions that people in Indonesia use to celebrate Islamic New Year. Many of these traditions cannot be found outside of Indonesia.
In the Middle East, the Islamic New Year is a fairly quiet event with very few festivities. This is not the case in Indonesia. Indonesian Muslims enjoy parades that honor the founding of Islam. Floats, dancers, and various moving displays celebrate the Islamic New Year in these parades. In addition to Islamic themes, these parades also include Javanese flags and miscellaneous cultural icons. This is an indication that Indonesia values diversity.
One of the most unique Islamic New Year rituals is Lampah Mubeng Beteng. Lampah Mubeng Beteng is a palace march that takes place in Yogyakarta each year. Indonesian Muslims who reside in Yogyakarta will join the royal servants of the local palace to march around the perimeter of the palace property. During the Lampah Mubeng Beteng ritual, participants are not permitted to speak, eat, drink, or smoke. Instead, participants are expected to reflect on the glory of God and their own fortune. This is an opportunity for participants to be thankful for their situation in life.
Islamic New Year, or Muharram, is an Indonesian public holiday that allows Indonesian Muslims to reflect on the founding of Islam while spending time with friends and family members.