Our daily lives have changed dramatically since the Covid-19 pandemic hits us globally in March 2020. As this month we celebrate Indonesian Independence Day, this is the second time we will have a low-key celebration of this great national day amidst the pandemic. Many celebrations across the country have been canceled due to social restrictions and frankly yes we as Indonesian people are missing these activities and celebrations that we usually have on Independence Day. To summarize them, we rounded up the things we miss the most about celebrating Indonesian Independence Day before the pandemic.

Flag Hoisting Ceremony

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From kids at school to grown-up people work at the government’s officials and corporate offices usually inducted the flag hoisting ceremony in the morning. The need to wake up early on 17 August to attend the ceremony would be mandatory, and usually, after the ceremony, we would end up having a good time with colleagues celebrating with fun games and having brunch with the iconic Nasi Tumpeng (cone-shaped rice with lots of scrumptious condiments). Those who stay at home would be watching the official flag-raising ceremony at the State Palace led by the President and Vice President, in front of hundreds of people attended by the cabinet, military brass, diplomatic corps, ambassadors, and honored guests. This may be happening this year with very limited attendees and strict health protocols.

Fun Activities

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Sometimes neighborhoods, schools, even corporate offices would set this up to fire up the spirit of Independence Day every year. Many games such as balap karung (sack race), balap kelereng (marble race), makan kerupuk (cracker eating), tarik tambang (tug of war), lomba bakiak (a race wearing traditional wooden sandal in large size), bike decorating contest, and many more have become a tradition. With today’s restrictions during the pandemic, people can’t do that.

The Pole Climbing

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Pole climbing also known as ‘panjat pinang’ is the most anticipated game. It requires a tall nut tree and is equipped with a large circular wheel on the top, with prizes hanging on the wheel. What makes it so tricky? A certain amount of oils are added all over the pole to make it slippery and hard to climb. It takes a big group effort to reach the prize above by climbing on the shoulder to another shoulder and more until they build a human totem pole. The muddy field where the pole is usually being placed is also really challenging for them to stay put, plus the dirty mud all over their body and face would be a great funny moment for spectacles.

Traditional Costumes

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Not only on Kartini’s Day, during Indonesian Independence Day many schools would hold the traditional costumes contest for the students. Ordinarily, the students would dress in one of the traditional costumes by each province and culture, and got judged by the member of juries. It’s another way to teach students about nationalism and the pride of being Indonesian.

Art Performances Festival

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It’s almost similar to talent shows, art performances festival showcases the art performances and culture of Indonesia usually held by a group of committees in the neighborhoods or schools. Many activities such as traditional costume contests, traditional dances, traditional folk songs, and others would enliven the event. The feelings when people come together to celebrate the glory of Indonesia was such a moment.

Arts Exhibition

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In commemoration of Independence Day, many museums across the country sometimes hold a special exhibition within a limited amount of time. The arts not only present another dimension of a state collection but also display the concept of nationalism and national identity.

Independence Day Parade

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The parade or carnival usually features marching bands, decorative floats, patriotic parades, traditional costumes of various ethnic groups of Indonesia, and kids can participate with the decorative bike along the way. We don’t mind the noisy and loud voices marching the parade as they give us a boost of spirit during the celebration.

Big Sale!

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Big discounts, cashback, or free delivery you name it, these kinds of extra bonus features have recently been popping monthly in several online marketplaces. But we do miss the thrill of rummaging discounted stuff in the shopping malls, department stores, going back and forth to the fitting rooms, or getting tempted by the certain promo displayed on the malls’ corridors especially during August. Not only fashion retailers, F&B outlets sometimes require us to dress red and white – the color of the flag, representing our national pride if we wanted to enjoy their special promo.