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Going Mudik, One of The Biggest Annual Exoduses on Earth.
Going Mudik on Eid Al-Fitr
The very first question you may come up with : what is Going Mudik ?, this is an activity which has been traditionally done by million of Indonesians to go to their home towns to celebrate Eid al Fitr .
All moslems around the world have completed a fasting month, one month for moslems to purify their soul by refocusing on God. In that holly month they refrained not only from food and drink from dusk until dawn, but also kept all parts of their body and soul from doing evil actions, thoughts and words. After the purification has been achieved successfully then comes Eid al-Fitr, the happiest moments to celebrate the day of victory after the fasting month.
Every country has its special way in celebrating Eid al Fitr, In Indonesia celebrating Eid al Fitr means get together with whole family and relatives no matter how long the distance and time they have to take. The two-day-Eid al Fitr-celebration in Indonesia which was preceded by the travelling of millions of people from big cities, especially who lived in Jakarta and its surrounding areas to their hometowns, has created one of the biggest exoduses annually happens in the world. It is predicted to be the second largest after Haj Pilgrimage in Mecca.
How Big is It ?
Going mudik has taken place for many years . Total number of people who go mudik in Java island increases by 6% every year (Media Indonesia). Mudik goers in 2008 was 15.3 million and it reached 16.2 million this year. This mass movement brings not only some positives influences to economic activities since around 8 trillion of cash circulates and has moved local economic gears around as the result of mudik activities but also gives unwanted impacts. Massive number of people left their dwelling places in big cities for their hometowns in other cities which takes place almost all at once, had given the government some headaches too. Increasing accidents, especially those who went mudik by motorcycle, facilitating people with sufficient modes of public transports and infrastructures for mudik, keeping all mudik activities nationwide in good, safe orders are among those problems.
Just to give illustration on how big the exodus in Eid al Fitr celebration which has become an annual tradition for millions of moslems in Indonesia, let's take Jakarta and its neighboring areas, called Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok,Tangerang and Bekasi) as an exampel.
The Jabodetabek area had been reported left by most of its residents who traveled to their hometowns during seven days prior to the two-day-holly feasts. Some media said that in 2008 around 6 miilion people left the area, and Jakarta as the largest city also made the biggest contribution with 3.2 million, or around 36% of its 8.8 million total residents join the incomparable mass movements. Those people exit the cities using different modes of transports : cars, buses, airplanes, motorcycles, taxis, trucks, ships, and also by unusual transport for long distance trip : three-wheeled cars or motorized pedicabs.
What is the Essence of Going Mudik ?
Going mudik is a very important ritual for Indonesian families, especially those who celebrate Eid al Fitr. There are some reasons why the must go mudik :
- First they need to see other members of families and relatives who live separately in other places. All family members will get together at their parents house on Eid al Fitr day, or at another place which belongs to the oldest member of family if parents had passed away..
- They need to rejuvenate and strengthen family ties in this family reunion. All family members share happiness and forgive one another's faults in the past.
- This once-in-a year feast is so essential so that all people are willing to go mudik regardless constraints they may face (you can see in photos a family of four riding a motorbike, or a woman milk the baby on the ride of motorcycle).