From Food Fights to Colorful Hot Air Balloons, Here Are 5 Unique Ways Eid Al-Fitr Is Celebrated Around Indonesia

Eid al-Fitr is the festival to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, so understandably Lebaran or Hari Raya Idul Fitri (as the holiday is known in Indonesia) is seen as THE holiday of the year.

Some of these traditions combine elements from both Islam and local traditions, creating some the most unique celebrations that you can’t find elsewhere on the planet.

1. Perang Topat (Lombok)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Aston Denpasar Hotel (@astondenpasar) on

What would you do if someone suddenly throws rice dumplings at you? You’d probably want to retaliate, preferably with something heavier than the thing you eat for lunch. But no one gets triggered at Perang Tipat Bantal (rice dumpling war), a Balinese tradition carried out annually as a gratitude to the gods for providing an abundant yield of harvest. During the festival, villagers throw ketupat (rice dumplings) at each other while dancing merrily to the beat of gamelan (traditional musical ensemble) and kulkul (bamboo xylophone).

The same tradition is adopted in the neighbouring island of Lombok, where it is held to welcome Eid al-Fitr. More than just a fun activity, Perang Topat is seen as a way to foster friendship and harmony between the ethnic Balinese (mostly Hindus) and the Sasaks (mostly Muslims).

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Lombok. Book your seats now at

2. Grebeg (Yogyakarta And Its Surrounding Areas)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by My Trip My Adventure Soloraya (@mtma_solo) on

Gunungan is a mountain-shaped crop heaps believed to be remnants from the late Hindu-Javanese period, when indigenous Javanese beliefs held the mountains in high regard.

During Grebeg Syawal (Eid festival), the royal courts of Java provide the people with gunungans, which are ceremoniously carried from the palace to the Great Mosque for distribution to mark the arrival of Eid al-Fitr.

As a symbol of prosperity, gunungan is well sought after and people fight over it. Not a problem if you’re used to elbowing your way to your desired bargains during Black Friday.

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta. Book your seats now at

3. Barong Ider Bumi (Banyuwangi)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by TIC Indonesia ( on

It might look fearsome with its fangs and bulging eyes, but Barong is a mythical figure in Java and Bali who represents justice and everything good. In Banyuwangi regency in the province of East Java, there is a tradition of Ider Bumi on the second day of Eid al-Fitr where villagers parade a Barong dance troupe to chase away the negative spirits and to bring in good harvest.

In some ways, the tradition is similar to the Chinese lion dance tradition. But instead of receiving money, the Barong troupe spreads coins, flowers, and rice all over the village.

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Surabaya. Book your seats now at

4. Ronjok Sayak (Bengkulu)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sekundang Setungguan🌐 (@bengkuluselatan_) on

The Serawais and their related ethnic groups in the province of Bengkulu in Sumatra, believe that fire is the medium between the living and their ancestors. This is they held ronjok sayak or volcano burning, held every Nujuh Likur (27th day of Ramadan) and in the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Come evening, people stack up coconut shells and then burn the top of the pile.

The fire needs to be kept burning the whole evening, and it’s usually the children who are excited to take on this duty. Eat your heart out, sparklers and fireworks!

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Palembang. Book your seats now at

5. Makmeugang (Aceh)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Joel Sip95 (@pitjoel) on

Makmeugang, or just meugang, is a tradition for the Acehnese to flood the market to buy meat, mostly beef but also chevon, mutton and chicken. They will then slave away in their kitchens to prepare hearty, meaty dishes not only for their family but also to share among the community. Meugang happens three times in a year: one day before Ramadan, one day before Eid al-Fitr, one day before Eid al-Adha. Vegetarians might want to consider wearing blindfolds throughout the day.

It is believed that this tradition was started by Sultan Iskandar Muda of Aceh Darussalam Sultanate, the ruler between 1607 and 1636, who held meugang for the less fortunate.

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Banda Aceh. Book your seats now at

6. Tumbilotohe (Gorontalo)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Insom Art (@bangpo94) on

Tumbilotohe means ‘light up the lamps’ in Gorontalo language, when the streets are all lit up to welcome Eid al-Fitr. It is meant to help during the collection and distribution of zakat (obligatory almsgiving held few days before the end of Ramadan) in the olden days when electricity was not a thing in this northern Sulawesi province.

Although originally the streets were simply lined with simple oil lamps, nowadays people go all out with everything from a field of full of paper lanterns to tunnels made of fairy lights, giving the local Instagrammers something to be excited about.

Aside from Tumbilotohe, there’s also the tradition of karapan sapi (cattle race) to welcome Eid al-Fitr, held by the ethnic Javanese who’ve settled in Gorontalo for generations.

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Makassar. Book your seats now at

7. Bodho Syawal (Pekalongan And Its Surrounding Areas)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by zaky ahmad (@zackyc70) on

In the city of Pekalongan, there’s a tradition to fly colorful hot air balloons on Syawalan (seven days after Eid al-Fitr) which goes all the way back to the 18th century, a symbol of letting go and forgiveness. But the local government tried to curb this practice as the balloons create an air navigation hazard.

The solution came in recent years where it’s been regulated that the hot air balloons must be securely tied to the ground. Now all the government needs to figure out is to find a way to ban the firecrackers that are usually attached to the balloons…

GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Semarang. Book your seats now at