Indonesia Independence Day is celebrated on August 17 each year. The national holiday commemorates Indonesia’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. The annual holiday is formerly known as ‘Hari Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia’ abbreviated as ‘HUT RI’ or simply ‘Hari Kemerdekaan’. Also known locally as ‘Tujuhbelasan’ —meaning ‘the Seventeenth’ — the day was designated a national holiday by government decree in 1946. The proclamation led to four more years of fighting before official recognition of their independence. Patriotic and cultural parades, red and white artworks, and street decorations adorn Indonesian towns in August.
History of Indonesia independence day
Indonesia had remained under Dutch colonial rule for over 300 years until a group of nationalists declared its independence on August 17, 1945. The struggle for Indonesia’s freedom and liberation was not an easy one. It took four long years of agitation and diplomacy before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands formally granted Indonesia her independence.
Throughout Indonesia, preparations for the national holiday begin about three weeks before the actual date. Buildings don conspicuous red and white banners and glowing decorations. Malls wear the national red and white colors and offer special Independence Day sales and discounts. Red and white bunting drape the fences around the presidential palace, various government offices, and housing complexes. The words ‘Dirgahayu RI’ — meaning ‘Long Live Indonesia!’ — can be seen all around cities and towns throughout the country.
The Constitution of Indonesia recommends every Indonesian fly the national flag in front of houses, office buildings, schools, and public institutions throughout the country on Independence Day. Even Indonesian diplomatic offices abroad are requested to fly the national flag on August 17 to commemorate the national holiday. Natives of Indonesia also decorate streets and alleys with ‘Umbul-umbul’ (red and white pennant flags) and banners to celebrate Indonesia Independence Day. At seven A.M. local time on August 17, cities and regencies throughout Indonesia hoist the national flag in a ceremony held at their respective city halls. Later, all Indonesian national television stations broadcast the National Independence Day Ceremony live from the presidential palace in Jakarta. A military procession follows, and the Indonesian national orchestra performs an orchestral and musical performance of patriotic and traditional songs. The flag-lowering ceremony also takes place at about five P.M. local time. Indonesians celebrate Independence Day with festivities like cultural performances, music shows, singing contests, cooking competitions, and bazaars. Other national day traditions also include eating ‘krupuk’ (Indonesian crackers) and ‘Panjat Pinang’ competitions where people attempt to climb to the top of a grease-covered Areca palm trunk for the prizes hung at the top.
Indonesia independence day timeline
Austronesian peoples migrate to Indonesia from the Philippines.
Nationalists Sukarno and Hatta declare Indonesia’s independence from The Netherlands.
The Netherlands acknowledges Indonesia’s independence under U.N. pressure.
Indonesia emerges as the world’s third-strongest economy after China and India.
Over 192 million Indonesians register to vote for a president and legislators in April.
Indonesia independence day FAQs
Who first came to Indonesia?
The earliest settlers in Indonesia were mainly the Austronesian people. Believed to have migrated from Taiwan, the Austronesians arrived in Indonesia around 5000 B.C.
What was the original name of Indonesia?
Indonesia was formerly known as the Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East Indies).
Why did Indonesia declare independence?
Following over three centuries of Dutch colonization, the colonial masters bowed to pressure from radical youth groups. On August 17, 1945 — two days after the Japanese emperor’s surrender to the United States — national leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence.
Indonesia independence day Activities
Watch the live broadcasts
The live broadcasts feature flag hoisting, marching bands, gun salute, prayers, and other side attractions. You can catch the sights and sounds through local television channels or stream it live on YouTube.
Join in the fun
If you’re ever in Indonesia during this national celebration, you can participate in the festivities by viewing the colorful cultural parades, local dances, and marching bands. You can also try the local foods and give your taste buds a fresh, wholesome treat.
You could also sponsor Independence Day events such as picnics and games for the local people and their families. You could also pay for a children’s day-out or sponsor neighborhood activities near you.
5 Interesting Facts About Indonesia
The largest archipelago in the world
Indonesia comprises over 17,000 islands, making it the largest archipelago in the world.
Home to the world’s largest (and smelliest) flower
The ‘Rafflesia Arnoldia’ — nicknamed the ‘corpse flower’ because of its pungent odor — the world’s largest flower is found here.
World’s largest gold mine
The Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia, is home to the biggest gold reserve in the world, and the second-biggest copper reserve.
Same flag as Monaco
The only difference between the flags of Indonesia and Monaco is that Indonesia’s flag is slightly wider, and they use a different shade of red.
Home to different languages
While Bahasa Indonesia is Indonesia’s official language of the country, there are more than 700 other languages and dialects spoken throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
Why We Love Indonesia independence day
A day of national pride
Independence Day is a special holiday for all Indonesians. They clean up their neighborhood and adorn their streets, houses, and alleys with the national flag and beautiful white and red pennants.
The pomp and conviviality
Other than the flag hoisting, Indonesia Independence Day is known for the merriment, parties, folk dances, games, and fun competitions that bring the day to life. Everyone of all ages and statuses partakes and enjoys the social events.
The special offers
Stores, malls, and businesses offer special discounts and sales to commemorate the national day. Who doesn’t love discounts and promos?
Indonesia independence day dates