Idul Fitri

Idul Fitri | Lombok | Indonesia

Imagine the most spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display you have ever seen. Multiply that by a thousand and you can begin to imagine the scene that unfolded in front of our hotel Saturday night!


Saturday night marked the end of Ramadan fasting which is celebrated with a parade featuring floats from each of the mosques in town and of course, fireworks. This year, there was a debate on the starting date of Ramadan because the holiday is based on the cycle of the moon so we weren't quite sure if we were going to get to see the festivities. We were a wee bit sad as we left dinner because there were no signs of fireworks. But, as we walked out the door of Pizza Hut, the parade rounded the corner and suddenly, we were right in the middle of it all!

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We tried to get ahead of it and get back to our hotel so we could watch from there but got sidetracked by the cutest little kids at a fireworks stand. We bought them some fireworks and began to shoot them off above the parade. This was our friend who gave us special price.

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After spending some time down on the street, we negotiated front row seats on the roof of our hotel with the security guards. The fireworks were exploding right in front of us. Literally. I would like to point out that I did not zoom into the pictures below, they were just erupting straight at us!

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Idul Fitri | Salatiga | Indonesia

The last two days we have been observing the traditions in celebration of the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. Last night, we went to the town square to watch a parade in which every local mosque created a float.

Think the 4th of July + New Year's Eve + Superbowl Halftime, all rolled into one. I woke up pretty much every hour, despite my iPod and sleeping pills. The same guy was praying over the loudspeaker at our neighborhood mosque the entire night. He was also competing with the three other mosques nearby. It's some serious devotion.

The next morning, we woke up at 5:30 to walk to the town square again, to see the fast-breaking prayer. It was an incredible sight.

See the women? Probably not. They are behind the men, behind the rope, at the back of the field. It was definitely an eye-opening experience to see the devotion of that many people, all gathered in one place, chanting in unison for the same cause.