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18 September 2020 (closed)
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For Muslims the holy fasting month (Ramadan) and subsequent Eid al-Fitr (Idul Fitri or Lebaran) festivities – the traditional week-long national holiday when Muslims celebrate the end of the Ramadan month – are very special and joyful times.
The Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community (fellowship); a month to strive for purity and heightened awareness of God.
Besides strengthening the relationship with God through prayer and the recitation of the Quran, fellowship is also a particularly important matter for Muslims in this period. During the Ramadan month, people tend to gather in the early morning to have breakfast together (sahur), before dawn. Meanwhile, in the evening there are numerous gatherings where people break their fast together, either on the streets or at home. These are always joyful occasions.
And, interestingly enough, while the Ramadan month is a period of self-restrain, it is also a month in which consumption (and thus inflation) peaks. Muslims not only tend to buy many food products in this period but also a variety of other consumer products (such as clothes, bags, and shoes) in preparation of visiting friends.
Moreover, in the context of the Idul Fitri celebrations, Indonesians (especially those who live in the urban environments) typically travel back to their places of origin to spend a couple of days with their (extended) families (usually in the suburbs or rural areas). In Indonesia this tradition is known as mudik (in English: homecoming).
Typically, millions of city-dwellers exit the cities to perform the mudik each year. As a result, a megacity like Jakarta becomes a sort of empty ghost town for a week. The table below shows that nearly 20 million Indonesians performed the mudik in 2018 and 2019.
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