Indonesians commemorate Holy Ashura with various rituals during Holy Muharram
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Indonesians commemorate Holy Ashura with various rituals during Holy Muharram

In Indonesia, the holy month of Muharram, known locally as “Shura”, is marked by a variety of rituals and traditions as the nation prepares for the day of Ashura.

Revered as a sacred period, Muharram corresponds to the first month of the Islamic Hijri calendar and holds significant cultural and religious significance for Indonesians.

Throughout the month, many Indonesians observe traditions that include refraining from wedding ceremonies and travel. These practices reflect the deep respect and reverence held for this sacred period.

One of the most significant rituals is the raising of the “coffin” in the Bengkulu region during the first ten days of Muharram. This ceremony is a tribute to Imam Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib, peace be upon him, who was martyred in the Karbala desert. This act symbolises the community’s respect and mourning for this revered figure.

In the Aceh region, the month of Muharram is called the “month of Hassan-Hussein”, a period during which weddings and construction work are suspended. Acehnese commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein through various unique local practices, reflecting their cultural heritage.

In Madura, a special tradition is to prepare a special dish of rice and milk at the beginning of the month of Muharram for ten days. On Klaten, the seventh day of the month of Muharram, the community gathers to stay awake for 24 hours to celebrate the importance of the month.

In Palembang, the celebration of Muharram reaches its peak on the day of Ashura, with gatherings at mosques where food is offered to orphans and the poor. This act of charity is a hallmark of the Ashura tradition and highlights the solidarity and compassion of the community.

These various rituals and ceremonies performed in different regions of Indonesia highlight the nation’s cultural richness. They show deep respect for the holy month of Muharram and the memory of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom, showcasing the unique ways in which Indonesians honor this important period.