Idul Fitri celebration, a time for family
On the second day of the Muslim Idul Fitri religious holiday, shoes and sandals of all shapes and sizes were lying in front of the home of Usman Marzuki, caretaker of the Al-Muhajirin mosque in Kepaon Islamic hamlet in Pemogan village, south of Denpasar.
“My children are visiting me with their families. Unlike during Idul Adha and Maulid Nabi — two other Islamic holidays — we usually celebrate Idul Fitri in a simple way, just among our families,” the 57-year-old man, father-of-four and grandfather-of-three told Bali Daily on Sunday.
Usman, a freelance tourist guide, who has been treasurer of Al-Muhajirin mosque for the past 15 years, said the only public activity held by the hamlet was the night before Idul Fitri, locally known as malam takbiran, when the Kepaon residents hosted a 6-kilometer takbiran tour around Pemogan village.
“The tour ended at 11 p.m. and then the next morning, all the Muslim residents gathered for Eid prayers on the mosque field,” said Usman, who is among the fourth generation of 350 Balinese Muslim families in Kepaon hamlet.
Kepaon was the first Islamic hamlet established in Denpasar centuries ago. Now it is not only home to Balinese Muslims, but also to a growing number of around 200 migrant Muslim families from Java and Sulawesi.
Of the numerous versions of the origins of Kepaon Muslim hamlet, Usman cited one version in which a Muslim prince from Blambangan Kingdom successfully assisted the Pemecutan clan of the Badung Kingdom to win a war against the Mengwi Kingdom.
“The Blambangan king then married a princess from the Badung Kingdom and settled here. Even until today, the descendant of the Pemecutan clan [Ida Cokorda Pemecutan XI] is still our guest of honor, although he is a Hindu Balinese. Every year, he comes to open our malam takbiran,” said Usman.
Despite the good relationship with those of other faiths, Usman acknowledged that over the past 10 years the unique ngejot tradition had been diminishing. Ngejot refers to giving fruit-and-snack baskets to Hindu neighbors during Idul Fitri and vice versa during the Hindu Balinese religious day of Galungan.
Separately, a resident of Kampung Jawa in Wanasari hamlet west of Denpasar, Sumaji, said that good relations between the Hindu and Muslim Balinese were maintained because the Pemecutan family had supported them in sorting out the once-untidy cemetery compound in the hamlet.
“The pecalang [Hindu Balinese security guards] of the neighboring hamlet Lumintang also assist us during our takbiran night, while our security guards also help them when their hamlet is performing the mass cremation ritual ngaben,” said Sumaji.
Kampung Jawa is home to around 7,000 people, or 1,000 families, many of whom are currently on mudik (annual exodus) to their hometowns in Madura, Bandung and Lombok.
Sumaji, 45, whose daily work is as a street hawker, originates from the Muslim hamlet of Kecicang in Karangasem. He did not participate in mudik, unlike another Kampung Jawa resident, Yakub, who works as a school gardener. “Financially, mudik costs millions of rupiah. I prefer to stay home this year,” said Yakub, 50, whose Madurese mother arrived in Kampung Jawa in 1943.
Islam is a minority religion in Bali’s 3.8 million population, 90 percent of whom follow Balinese Hinduism.
Not all Muslims enjoyed a day with their families during Idul Fitri. Those who serve in the security forces, medical first-responders and officials at ports and crossings spent Idul Fitri at their workplaces.
“My staff and I have to ensure that the travelers who pass through Gilimanuk harbor get the service they need. Of course, we want to spend Idul Fitri with our families, but we choose to perform our duty,” Wahyudi Susianto, manager of PT ASDP river, lake and crossing transportation, said.
In the past four years, Wahyudi has spent Idul Fitri supervising the harbor operations that see hundreds of thousands of Javanese migrant workers heading to Java to reunite with their extended families.
“On the day of Idul Fitri, I called my family to talk on Skype with them. Fortunately, they understand my duties,” said the father of three.