Celebrating Indonesian Independence Day: A Journey of Freedom

Indonesia celebrates Independence Day on 17th August, each year. This special day marks the special moment when Indonesia declared its independence from colonial rule on the 17th of August, 1945. This is the day to remember the sacrifice made by our freedom fighters for the country’s independence. The way to become an independent nation wasn’t easy, it took four years of brutal fighting. Independence Day is a time for joy, pride, and reflection for all Indonesians. Indonesia is a diverse country with over 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 languages spoken. Hence, different groups have their unique traditions. The country has made significant progress in recent years, including education, healthcare, and infrastructure. However, there are still challenges to overcome, such as poverty, inequality, and environmental issues. Independence Day serves as a reminder that the journey toward a better Indonesia is ongoing.

The History of Independence

Indonesia’s path to independence was long and challenging. For over 300 years, the Indonesian archipelago was under the control of various colonial powers, mainly the Dutch. The struggle for freedom began in the early 20th century, observed as the “Day of National Awakening”.

Before Japan took over Indonesia, the Dutch were ruling Indonesia. From 1816 to 1941, the Netherlands government ruled over Indonesia. After that Japan defeated the Netherlands in World War II and ruled over Indonesia, from March 1942 to September 1945.
On August 17, 1945, two days after the Japanese surrender in World War II due to nuclear bombing in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta announced Indonesia’s independence. This declaration was a bold and brave step, marking the birth of a new nation. Despite this declaration, it took several more years of struggle for Indonesia to become completely independent from Dutch rule.

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Significance of Independence Day

Independence Day means a lot more than just a celebration. It represents the spirit of freedom and unity of the Indonesian people. This day reflects the courage and determination of freedom fighters towards their nation. For many Indonesians, Independence Day is a time to reflect on the progress the country has made since 1945.
Independence Day is a moment to celebrate the diversity and unity that make Indonesia unique. It brings people from different backgrounds together to celebrate this special occasion. From Sabang to Merauke, the nation comes together to honor its rich history.

Celebrating Indonesia Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated with various events and activities throughout Indonesia. Here are some of the examples on how Indonesia celebrate its Independence Day:
The national flag, the Red and white, is hoisted in a ceremony. Schools and universities organize events that encourage young people to learn about the history and importance of Independence Day. Young people are also involved in the flag hoisting ceremonies and other official events. By involving the youth in these activities, Indonesia ensures that the importance of freedom and unity is passed on to future generations.
Essay competitions, art exhibitions, and debates are common activities that engage students in meaningful ways. Parades and Marches are held in cities and towns, featuring traditional dance and their diverse culture, attracting thousands of viewers. Many people take part in community service activities, such as cleaning up neighborhoods, planting trees, and helping those in need.
Moreover, traditional games, known as “Lomba”, are played on Independence Day celebrations. These games include sack races, climbing greasy poles, and crack-eating contests. Cultural performances, including traditional music and dance, are held in various parts of the country. These performances show Indonesia’s rich culture and provide entertainment for all ages.

Traditions That are Held on Indonesia Independence Day

1. Telok Abang, Palembang

To celebrate Independence Day, small vendors in Palembang fill their shops with traditional handcrafts named as Telok abang. It’s actually an egg, dyed with red color and placed in a toy ship, train, or plane.

Initially, this tradition was followed to celebrate the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina. Later after Indonesia became Independent, the belief changed. The red color in the egg represents courage while the white color inside the egg symbolizes purity, in the same way as the red and white flag of Indonesia.

2. Pawai Jampana, Bandung

Pawai Jampana is the tradition followed by local people in Bandung City to show their gratitude for the harvest reaped by the community and also to celebrate Independence Day.

Large stretchers containing crops, different kinds of food, and local handicrafts are presented in the Pawai parade, carried out by four people. They compete against each other and the food above the stretcher will be eaten together.

3. Obor Estafet, Semarang

Obor estafet, a unique tradition is carried out in Semarang city, mainly in Papandayan Village. The local community organizes a torch relay run with the best athletes in Semarang to pay tribute to the spirit of freedom fighters when they fought for the Republic of Indonesia. 

4. Lomba Dayung, Banjarmasin

Lomba Dayung Perahu Naga also known as the Dragon Boat Rowing Competition is carried out on an annual basis. Since 1924, this competition has been held on the Martapura River.

Indonesian Independence Day is a time of pride and joy for all Indonesians. On this special day, all Indonesians from different places come together to celebrate the achievements made by those who fought for freedom and honor their legacy.

Best Indonesian Independence Day Wishes

  • Happy Indonesian Independence Day! Let's celebrate our freedom and heritage.

  • Here's to cherishing our independence and the freedoms we enjoy. Happy Independence Day!

  • May the spirit of freedom fill your heart with joy and gratitude. Happy Independence Day!

  • Sending warm wishes for a meaningful and joyous Independence Day.

  • Let freedom ring loud and clear! Happy Independence Day!

  • Wishing you a day filled with the spirit of hope, unity, and freedom. Happy Independence Day!

  • May the fireworks light up the path towards a brighter tomorrow. Happy Independence Day!

  • Grateful for the opportunity to live in a free and democratic nation. Happy Independence Day!

  • Cheers to the heroes who fought for the freedom of the country by risking their lives. Have a joyful Independence Day.

  • Wishing you a safe and joyful Independence Day. Let’s appreciate the efforts of our great leaders and work for a brighter future.

  • Happy Indonesian Independence Day! May this special occasion be filled with joy and pride.

  • Wishing Indonesia continued peace, prosperity, and unity. Happy Independence Day!

  • Let's celebrate Indonesia's incredible diversity – one nation, and countless cultures. Happy Independence Day!

  • Here's to the future generations who will continue to build on Indonesia's legacy. Happy Independence Day!

  • Let’s celebrate the food, culture, and traditions that make Indonesia a truly special place. Have a great Independence Day.

  • Let's celebrate Independence Day by recommitting to building a better Indonesia for all.

  • On this Independence Day, let's remember the importance of unity and inclusivity.

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