It’s very quiet around Jakartass Towers at the moment, and that’s unusual for a Tuesday. However, next Sunday is Hari Raya Idul Fitri, the day which celebrates the end of Ramadhan, the Muslim fasting month. That means that the mass exodus from Jakarta known as mudik, and pulang kampung (going home), which happens every year, has already started.
Of the over 10 million residents of Jakarta, not including the wider built up area of satellite cities known collectively as Jabodetabe with some 20 million residents, many of whom commute daily into Jakarta, the majority are from elsewhere in the archipelago.
There is an official week’s holiday allowing folk to return to their home towns and villages, a tradition some save up all year for so they can reconnect with the families and friends perhaps unseen since the previous year. Presents are handed out, children are given crisp bank notes, and a lot of mum’s home cooking is enjoyed.
Non-Muslims may well take the opportunity to take holidays too, and every year it is advisable to book trains and boats and planes up to three months in advance. Some workers may be able to use the free transport laid on by companies and local authorities, although it seems that the family motorcycle is the most popular conveyance. But whatever the means of transport, the roads are hell.
My compilation is about the anticipation, the journey and the final homecoming.
Going Home – theme from Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony no.9
If you prefer jazz, there’s a compilation with the same theme here.