The holy month of Ramadan is upon us and if you are new to Jakarta, may be unsure about what to expect. We turned to Colliers International, resident experts and ANZA Gold Sponsors to help us answer the most frequently asked questions.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the a period of fasting observed by Muslim adults to celebrate the Muhammad receiving the Quran. It falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The exact date is set according to the sighting of the moon.
What happens during Ramadan?
During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the hours of daylight, meaning they will not consume anything from sunrise to sunset (food, drink, cigarettes). As well as fasting, they undertake extra prayers and worship, as a means to grow closer to Allah.
Iftaar is when families and friends gather together at sundown to break their fast. Many eat with their family, but occasionally may share meals at mosques, charity iftaars and halal restaurants.
What is Idul Fitr?
This marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next Lunar month.
How many days off are staff entitled to?
Government regulation states that all employees are entitled to 14 days off over the one year period. This year however the government has announced that even though June 15 and 16th are the official holidays, that “collective leave” will be taken on June 13th and 14th and again 18th and 19th. This means that all offices are expected to remain closed during this time. For domestic workers, normally they will want to take at least a week off during this time, but they may take longer as it may be that they cannot get bus or train tickets home to their village on the days that they want to travel due to the amount of people that are trying to travel during this holiday period.
Which household staff do I have to tip/give a bonus to? How much?
Normally anyone that works for you and you pay a salary to, will be expecting a bonus. It is government regulation that “all employees are entitled to a 13th month salary which should be paid at the latest 10 days prior to the Idul Fitri celebration which this year is on June 15th”. (This can be prorated if they have not been working for you for at least one year). You will however, be asked from other people that you do not pay, for a “donation” as well. This may include your paper boy, your garbage collector, hansip (neighborhood security guys). These people will be expecting that each house “contribute” to their “bonus”.
Normally they will have a list of everyone in the neighborhood and a column as to how much each house “contributed”. Let those amounts be a guide, but if they do not show you this list, normally IDR 50,000 – IRD 100,000.- per household would be expected. The Idul Fitri holiday is a time of reflection for most Muslims, but also a time of generously to help others that are less fortunate. Even though you may not personally celebrate this holiday, your generosity towards it is expected.
Hampers and Sembako (Basic Needs) boxes.
In the stores, you will start to notice many hampers for sale and in the supermarkets, there will be many boxes that contain “Sembako” (Sembilan Bahan Pokok / Nine Basic Needs). Many people will send these types of hampers to family and friends as a gift. The Sembako boxes are more suited for people of lower income level such as maids and driver who for sure will be able to use the contents. Even though most of the population is fasting during the day, a lot of socializing, entertaining and food consumption happens in the evening. Any type of food gifts is always well received.
Are restaurants open?
For the most part, even during the fasting month, most restaurants will remain open. Malls for sure will remain open during the entire month of fasting. Most years the malls will close for half day on the first day of the holiday (morning of June 15th) and they will open again in the afternoon. There may be some smaller stand alone restaurants that will close for a few days as most of their staff will want to go home to their villages. There might be some restrictions regarding the selling of alcohol, and you might be served a beer in a coffee mug. Some restaurants will put up curtains in their windows during the day so that people from the outside can not see the diners in the restaurants, but generally speaking, most restaurants will remain open and operate as normal.
Many restaurants will offer special Iftaar menus, which non-Muslims may also enjoy. It is always best to book well advance for these.
Do I have to wear more conservative clothing during this time?
No. Some Muslim ladies who don’t normally wear a headscarf may elect to wear a scarf during the fasting month to respect their colleagues who are fasting, however there is little or no change in what everyone else wears.
Do you have any other questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer them.
Colliers International is well known for its property services, helping expats find the right home for their time in Indonesia. However, they also offer a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the lifestyle and cultural aspects of living in Jakarta.
Their residential experts are fellow expats who have lived in Indonesia for many years and understand the challenges in relocating to a new country and new culture. If you are planning a look-see then be sure to get in touch with Colliers.
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