Indonesia Banget #2 : Mudik

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Today is the 17th day of September and as usual I’m going to write something about Indonesia. This month’s topic is Mudik. (Read: moo-dick). I choose this topic because there are so many people doing mudik early this September.

Before I explain about Mudik, you need to understand why we do mudik. Most Indonesian people are Muslim. In Islamic calendar, there is a month called Ramadhan, we call the months as the holy month of Ramadhan because it is the month where all of us have to do fasting everyday for the whole month. After Ramadhan, there is Syawal (another month in Islamic calender). The first of Syawal is the day we stop our fasting month, it is the day of victory. It is called as Eid or Idhul Fitri. Every Muslim celebrates Idhul Fitri just like every Christian celebrates Christmas (different purpose but same in the sense of celebration).

Because Idhul Fitri is one of the most important days in a year, everyone wants to celebrate it with the member of their family. It’s not a problem when the whole family live in the same city, but there are a lot of people who had migrated to big cities in order to find a better job. They leave their family back in the village. They want to use these holy-days to be with their family…and when they come back to their village, their return is called Mudik.

Mudik by Boat

You might think that returning back to home town is something usual and happen everywhere…but trust me, you can only see thousands of people moving back to their hometowns at the same time in Indonesia (or maybe other third world countries). The airports, the harbors, the bus terminals are all filled with people. The streets are jammed and hardly can move. And of course, like in so many countries, the ticket fees increase twice or three times before. Last year, I did Mudik and the plane costed 2 million rupiah whereas on normal days it only cost 300 thousand rupiah. (Rupiah is Indonesian currency), so I took bus because I couldn’t afford the ticket.

See the picture on the right!! This shows how crazy the traffic is. You can barely move.

For rich people, they can afford plane tickets no matter how expensive it becomes, but for common people, the options are only by road or sea. The most extreme one is Mudik by using motorcycle. There are a lot of people who choose to go back to their hometown by riding motorcycle and they do not ride ALONE, they bring their wife and children and boxes of gift for people in their hometown. I know how tired it can be to go hundreds of kilometers by car, I can only imagine how that tiredness multiply when riding motorcycle. I got butt cram whenever I go anywhere with motorcycle, and this ‘anywhere’ is only in Jakarta…this cram will be doubled or tripled if I ever go to another city by motorcycle.

As the economy becomes harder by the year, more and more people are riding their motorcycle to do Mudik. I’ve heard stories of children died during this kind of trip 😦 . Most people who ride motorcycle are Javanese, they come from Jakarta to their hometown, somewhere in java Island.

I didn’t go Mudik this year, therefore I have to google those pictures above.

Mudik has become a strong tradition every year. A lot of people ALWAYS mudik every single year. Some would choose to mudik once in a while, I am one of these people. The peak of Mudik flow is 7 to 3 days before Idhul Fitri.

Beside mudik, another tradition during Idhul Fitri is giving money to small children, Idhul Fitri is the day when they can have lots of money 🙂 and because I am no longer a child and also a working person, I have to give them money.

Mudik to celebrate Idhul Fitri is always tiring…but it worth the effort 🙂 gathering with family is the perfect remedy for the tired bones.


    1. Thank you Roisin … or should I say ‘Terima Kasih’

      I never had thought that writing about my country will be something enjoyable, it pleases me if others can enjoy reading it 🙂

    1. Thank you Zee 🙂

      It scares me too. Not to make you more scare than before…I have just found out that more than 200 people died in the accident while Mudik this year 😦

  1. Hi Novia, really enjoyed reading this post. I found it interesting and entertaining. Human interest stories are always appealing to me and when I can learn something about another culture I find it even more enjoyable. Thank you for this post.

  2. Very interesting, Novia! I didn’t know about this at all.

    Here in the Netherlands it can get really busy at Christmas times but since we’re a small country, it’s mainly big queues on the roads for an afternoon or so.

    I guess the best thing to do Mudik is to go very early, but not everyone can take time off their work. What do you do on the years you’re not with the family (I think you’re with your parents but not with the larger family?). Do you call them up and do you send presents by post?

    1. Students have a two weeks holiday here, one week before and after Idhul Fitri. If their parents can leave work early, they can go early…but like you said, not everyone can leave work earlier.

      Yes most of my big family live in Padang, west Sumatra. We usually call them to ask their forgiveness for our mistakes, we don’t send presents at Idhul Fitri.

  3. I love your Indonesian Banget posts! They are very interesting. I also noticed that family of 4 on the motorcycle. That is very sad that so many people died during Mudik. Hopefully things will become safer in the future. I do think it’s very cool that so many people want to return home after Ramadan that there is a term for it! Very cool!

    1. Thank you so much Carin 🙂
      The goverment keeps on working to reduce the accident but with so many people on the road, the responsibility doesn’t lie on goverment alone…those people have to be careful too. I too hope it’ll get safer in the future.

      Hehe Indonesian loves making term for everything, Next month’s topic will be another term that is very difficult to translate to English.

    1. Hehe maybe your friend and I have different purpose 🙂 mine is to let people from other country know about Indonesia and let them know the term in Bahasa…kinda teaching them a bit of Indonesia 😉

      Thank you for visiting Asop, I’ll check your friend’s blog too.

  4. That was a great post. Very interesting. I never heard of Mudik. Amazing pictures. And you are so right about the need for people to be responsible too. There is only so much the government can do.

    1. Thank you Caroline. I do hope more people will enjoy reading this monthly post and let them have a glimpse of Indonesia.

      The goverment had tried increasing the number of transportation but most accidents are happened due to people’s behaviour on the road.

  5. Saya lebaran kemaren (2015) mudik sama bapak saya naik motor, Bekasi- Bandung. Jarak sekitar 130KM-an. Nyetir gantian. :v . Saya aja yang jarak segitu pantat udh panas, kebayang mereka yg mudik ke Jawa naik motor, bonceng >2. Tapi ada serunya juga sih. Bareng bareng jalan sama pemudik lain di jalanan bekasi- karawang. Yg lain ke arah jawa, saya ke arah bandung. Berpisah dengan pemudik lainnya.
    Pas masuk wilayah Purwakarta…. Beuh.. Subhanallah. Enak bgt. Jalanan mulus, banyak pohon, trek naik belok- belok. *hal yang tidak bisa dirasain di bekasi. Enaknya bisa “mengeksplorasi” kemampuan motor saya (beat fi 2012). (baca: Ngebut). :v . Di trek purwakarta bisa dapet 70-80. :v

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