How is the Holy Month of Ramadhan Observed in India and Indonesia?

April 29, 2022

UIII.AC.ID, DEPOK - Ramadhan, the holy month of Islam, is considered highly sacred for Muslims all over the world. India has the world's second-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia. In India “Ramadhan” is usually called as “Ramazan”, where from the first day, Muslims usually wake up very early in the morning and then have the Sahoor meal, which in India is called “Saheri”. During Sahoor time, in India traditionally, Muslims have meal which includes biryani, Khichdi (made from rice and lentils), eggs and parathas (bread). So, fasting in India and Indonesia is quite similar, both countries practice and follow the same tradition.

Muslims pay thanks to Allah and reflect on teaching of the Qur'an and its importance for the Islamic believers. In Hinduism, we also observe fasting and pay thanks to God during our holy 9 days where Hindus observe fast and break the fasting in the evening. During Navratri festival, Hindu devotees observe fasting for nine days to please and seek blessings of Goddess Durga.

Since I am an Indian, and now studying in Indonesia, being a Pure Vegetarian (a person who cannot consume fish, eggs, meats, chicken etc.) it’s often struggling and difficult to survive during these days. Sometimes I have only limited vegetarian food options in here (examples: tempe mendoan, bubur kacang hijau, gado-gado, and ketoprak). However, my friends know that I am a pure vegetarian so they do respect my religion (Hinduism). Also, and this is very encouraging, sometimes they offer me Indonesian vegetarian version of foods and also they offered me fruits. 

In India, on the day of Eid, everyone wears new clothes and go to Eid-gah to pray the Namaz, and after the prayer Muslims hug their parents, relatives and friends, as well as take blessings from the elders. Then they go to graveyards and do Fateha along with sprinkles flowers on the grave. They make supplication for the dead persons. Women prepare food like Indian briyani, and other sweets items. Everyone goes to their relative's home to wish them and spend quality time along with having meals with them. Elder people give Eidi (money) to the children. 

Moreover, during my studies here at UIII, I have witnessed that I am completely indulged in this Indonesian culture and enjoying the holy month of Islam i.e. Ramadhan with my local and International Muslims friends here in Depok. It’s is really good to see and explore how they perform prayers, cooking foods for Ramadhan, visiting the mosque and maintain the peace, while sharing good knowledge with me.

To be honest, while living in India, I have never experienced these kinds of vibes, and I proudly feel that I am very lucky to get a chance to experience, explore and enhance this Indonesian culture, their festivals with local Indonesian and other International friends.

By Prabhanshu Sharma, MA student at Faculty of Economics and Bussiness, UIII from India