Indonesian Expressions During Ramadan

Ramadan is the month where Muslims all over the world dedicate themselves to fast for thirty days straight. As a Muslim-majority country, Indonesia celebrates Ramadan festively. If you currently live in Indonesia, you will hear several expressions that will be commonly expressed during Ramadan.


Unfortunately, due to this COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is supposed to stay at home so you will less likely hear these expressions on the street. Nevertheless, you might still hear some on television or other media. Check out and learn these Indonesian expressions during Ramadan through this blog so you will not be missing out!


1. Bulan Puasa

Ramadan, as we all have known, is the ‘month of fasting’. In Indonesia, it is called ‘bulan puasa’. Indonesians use this word to describe Ramadan. Some of them might use this as a reason for a change in habits. For example, if school starts late during Ramadan we say:


Sekolah saya mulai lebih telat ketika bulan puasa.

(My school starts late during the month of fasting.)


2. Sahur

If you ever wonder why Muslims eat at around 3 o’clock in the morning during Ramadan, that is because they are having ‘sahur’. Most of them usually have a full meal and drink a lot of water to prepare themselves to fast during the day.


Example:


Hari ini saya sahur nasi goreng.

(I ate fried rice for suhoor today.)


3. Ngabuburit

Indonesians are usually very excited when it comes to breakfasting. People specifically made the term ‘ngabuburit’ as an expression of the activities that they do while waiting to break their fast between the afternoon and the dusk. ‘Ngabuburit’ itself has no equivalent meaning in other languages as it is originally derived from a traditional language which is Sundanese.


‘Ngabuburit’ can be done in so many ways. Some people spend it by cooking, listening to Islamic lectures, or even playing video games.


4. Selamat Berbuka Puasa

This is the expression that people say to each other when they break their fast. You can say this as a greeting to people who can finally enjoy their meals after 12 hours of fasting.


Example:


Selamat berbuka puasa, Bayu!

(Happy breakfasting, Bayu!)


5. Tarawih

On regular days, Muslims do 5 prayers everyday. When it comes to Ramadan, there is one extra prayer to complete in the evening which is called ‘tarawih’. Indonesians usually go to the mosque to practice ‘tarawih’. Some of them are very excited about bringing the whole family there. Some mosques include Islamic lectures in between the prayers.


Example:


Tadi malam saya shalat tarawih di masjid.

(Last night I did taraweeh prayer at the mosque.)


6. THR (Tunjangan Hari Raya)

‘THR’ or ‘tunjangan hari raya’ is the thirteenth month salary that employees get at the end of Ramadan. It is the annual bonus that is given specifically right before Eid al-Fitr holiday. Indonesians' families took that idea and implemented in their community. Parents, aunt, uncles, and grandparents usually give money to the younger generation in the family as a form of ‘THR’. Some people even give money to the kids around their neighborhood and will still call it giving out ‘THR’. In other cultures, ‘THR’ is similar to the Christmas bonus or Chinese Red Envelope.


7. Mudik

In the last week of Ramadan, Indonesians usually travel back to their hometown with their family to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This tradition is called ‘mudik’. Some people who work out of town and do not live with their families purposely participate in ‘mudik’ so they can gather with their families on the special day of Eid.


During the period of ‘mudik’, plane and train tickets are usually hitting their peak price. Most of them are even fully-booked way ahead of time. Highways and the streets are also full of cars and busses which can be very stressful for some people. Therefore, some people chose not to participate in ‘mudik’ and stay at home instead.


8. Lebaran

Have you ever heard any Indonesians say ‘Eid al-Fitr’? If your answer is no, then you are perfectly fine! The reason behind it is because the majority of Indonesians call it ‘lebaran’. It is the most common term that people use to express Eid al-Fitr as the celebration day of Ramadan.


In Indonesia, people celebrate ‘lebaran’ by visiting their family members, relatives, friends, even neighbors. Not only giving a visit, but people also cook traditional food such as coconut milk curry chicken along with its rice cakes. Some of them cook their family’s signature dish that has been passed from one generation to another.


Example:


Saya merayakan lebaran di rumah nenek.

(I celebrate Eid al-Fitr in my grandmother’s house.)


9. Selamat Idul Fitri. Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin.

If ‘selamat berbuka puasa’ is said to those who are breakfasting then ‘Selamat Idul Fitri. Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.’ is what you will say to people when celebrating Eid al-Fitr. It is a warm and pleasing term as you are also expressing apology to others. This is also the most common expression you will hear and even see on greeting cards. You are more than welcome to say this expression to everyone who is celebrating it.


So, are you familiar with these expressions now? How about giving it a try and use them with your Indonesian friends and colleagues!


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