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Christmas in Indonesia
Christmas or Natal in my language is the day when Jesus Christ was born. For me, Christ is not just a Wise-man, a Phrophet, Guru, a Healer, a Good Guy, etc For me, Christ is The Lord God, my private Messiah, my God, my Salvation, my Friend, and He is no longer a baby..He is a King of kings.
Christmas has been celebrating in Indonesia for hundred of years since the arrival of the Portuguese and the Dutch to occupy Indonesia. They spread the Christianity in Indonesia, most of it in Eastern Indonesia like East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Sulawesi, and Papua. Celebrating Chrismas in Indonesia is different from other western countries, especially for me who live in West Java. First, there is no snow here, but it's okay, Christmas is not identic with snow anyway. Second, this is Indonesia, where the major religion is Moslem, so you will rarely find Christian' houses decorated with Christmas ornaments. Well, if you go to our malls and department stores you will find many Chrismas ornaments decoration, children who sing Christmas carols, Santa Claus, decorative Christmas cakes, and etc. But not or rarely in private houses. We just do a simple Christmas decoration like Christmas tree, some may adding candles, Christmas cards, flowers, etc. Just simple and moderate.
Christmas in Ambon, Maluku
Well, Christmas in Ambon, Maluku-Indonesia is fantastic. Maybe the most fantastic in my country. Usually, the Ambon people have prepared the celebration on November, the malls and stores have decorated with Christmas ornaments, O Holy Night ..song is heard everywhere. Churches are very busy, they prepare Christmas drama, songs, dances, and Sunday School Children prepare the choir. They prepare the Christmas celebration from December 01 to the end of the month.
On Dec 01 to 06 : Santa Claus visits each house and give present to children. I don't know about Santa Claus much but I like the spirit of giving. Especially for the less-fortunate people.
On Christmas Eve, Ambon people will gather in their Church (about 6 pm) and pray for the Christmas Day. On 10 pm to midnight the Ambon town will usually very quite and dark, why..? Because all the Ambon people will pray in their house with their family until 00.00 am and after that, the dark and quite town become so bright, crowded, and noisy with fire works all over the town ha..ha. They will greet one another 'Merry Christmas' and send messages to relatives until 9 am in Dec 25 when they prepare the Christmas prayer and celebration in their Church. And the ceremony will continue to their house, they will have special Christmas feast and gather with the family and friends. So much different with the Christmas in Java Island (where I live).
Christmas in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara
More or less is similar with Christmas celebration in Ambon unless with the fire-works. My fafther in law live in Kupang, every Christmas we usually gather in his house on Christmas Eve to pray together until midnight. My father in law usually pray for us (his children, children in law, granchildren). After the praying session, we greet our neighbors and have feast and hang out together. On Dec 25, we go to the church for Christmas celebration and do the similar things like Ambon people.
We usually prepare a pork-grilled, jagung bose (corn cooked with spicy herbs and coconut milk), pork satay (like pork barbecue, but the pork is cut in dice and stick to the bamboo), brenebon soup (red bean soup with garlic and ribs), cakes, cookies, and sodas
Christmas in Java
I live in West Java and the celebrations of Christmas are concentrated in churches. It's okay for me and we still have our Christmas prayer in our own house. As a matter of fact, the Indonesian Christian had suffered a terrible Christmas Eve 9 years ago. Many churches had been attacked by bomb on Dec 24, 2000. Here are the lists of Churches which had been attacked :
1. Gereja Katolik Beato Damian, Bengkong (Beato Damian Catholic Church in Bengkong)
2. Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun (GKPS) Sungai Panas (Simalungun Protest Christian Chuch in Sungai Panas)
3. Gereja Bethany Lantai II Gedung My Mart Batam Center (Bethany Church in My Mart Batam Centre)
4. Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia Pelita, Jalan Teuku Umar (Pelita Pentecost Church in Teuku Umar Street)
1. Gereja HKBP Pekanbaru di Jalan Hang Tuah (HKBP Church in Hang Tuah Street )
2. Gereja di Jalan Sidomulyo (Church in Sidomulyo Street)
Jakarta (Capitol City)
1. Gereja Katedral (The Cathedral)
2. Sekolah Kanisius Menteng Raya (Kanisius School in Menteng Raya)
3. Gereja Matraman (Matraman Church)
4. Gereja Koinonia Jatinegara (Koinonia Church in Jatinegara)
5. Gereja Oikumene Halim (Oikumene Church in Halim)
Sukabumi (West Java)
1. Gereja Pantekosta Sidang Kristus di Jalan Masjid 20 Alun Alun Utara (Assembly of God Pentecost Church in Alun-Alun Utara)
2. Gereja di Jalan Otto Iskandardinata (Church in Otto Iskandardinata Street)
Pangandaran (West Java)
1. Gereja di Jalan Otto Iskandardinata, Sukabumi, Pangandaran, Ciamis (Church in Otto Iskandardinata Street)
Bandung (West Java)
1. Pertokoan Cicadas (Cicadas Stores Area)
2. Jalan Terusan Jakarta 43 (Church in Terusan Jakarta Street)
Kudus (Central Java)
1. Gereja Santo Yohanes Evangelista di Jalan Sunan Muria 6 (St John Evangelista Church in Sunan Muria 6 Street)
Mojokerto (East Java)
1. Gereja Allah Baik di Jalan Tjokroaminoto (Good Lord Church in Tjokroaminoto Street)
2. Gereja Santo Yosef di Jalan Pemuda (St Joseph Church in Pemuda Street)
3. Gereja Bethany (Bethany Church)
4. Gereja Ebenezer di Jalan Kartini (Ebenezer Church in Kartini Street)
Mataram (West Nusa Tenggara)
1. Gereja Protestan Indonesia Barat Imanuel di Jalan Bung Karno (Imanuel West Indonesia Protest Church in Bung Karno Street)
2. Gereja Betlehem Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya (GBPPS)
3. Pekuburan Kristen Kapitan Ampenan (Christian Cemetery in Kapitan Ampenan). I still wondering why they attacted the cemetery ?
Source : Indonesian Republic Police Headquarter and wikipedia
Not intend to open an old wound but just a reminder that Christmas in Indonesia is not always merry and bright. I personally have forgiven the bombers who had been catched and sent to a death penalty (most of them). And the condition is getting better now, I believe it's not about religion but the bombers just loved to spread the terror. Specially in places or something that have connection with west world like Christianity, Church and Christmas.
Those bombings also made us (the Body of Christ) in Indonesia changed. I have to admit that many Christian in Indonesia live in exclusiveness and not really care with people around us, so the attacked had changed the way we live. We're more open now, many churches open their doors and give what people need like medications, meals, educations, and our hearts. Hei, the last part of my hub is not intend to make you gloomy :)
It's Christmas time, Christ was born and He is the Best Present to the world. So..Happy Birthday Jesus! And Merry Christmas to you!
Christmas Celebration in My ChurchClick thumbnail to view full-size
Perayaan Natal Sekolah Minggu wil.Tomohon 1, di GMIM Elim Kolongan, Tomohon (The Sunday School Christmas Celebration in Tomohon, North Sulawesi)
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