Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Muslim Indians’ sugary celebration in Padang

Wed, February 19, 2020   /   12:42 pm
  • /

    Wash first, pray later: Men perform their wudhu (ablutions) before a prayer at the Muhammadan Mosque in Padang, West Sumatra, on Jan. 25. Following the prayer, they took part in the Serak Gulo ceremony. JP/Ramadhani

  • /

    Final check: Women prepare green flags that have the star and crescent symbol. They later hoisted the flags to mark the beginning of Serak Gulo. JP/Ramadhani

  • /

    Sweet treats: A man holds sachets of sugar. The sachets’ different colors symbolize diversity. JP/Ramadhani

  • /

    Open wide: Children use sarongs to collect sugar sachets. JP/Ramadhani

  • /

    Gathering: The Serak Gulo tradition provides a chance for the Muslim Indian community to reunite with friends and families. JP/Ramadhani

  • /

    Hands up: Residents hold up their hands before trying to catch sachets of sugar in front of the Muhammadan Mosque in Padang, West Sumatra. JP/Ramadhani


Festivities filled the Pondok Chinatown area in Padang, West Sumatra, on Jan. 25. It was not only because of Chinese New Year — another event, the sugar-filled Serak Gulo, was being held by the Muslim Indian community in the area.

On the day, the community gave out sachets of sugar — weighing a total of 5 tons — to neighbors and passersby at 200-year-old Muhammadan Mosque.

“The sugar is collected from the Indian community here. Some neighbors of Chinese descent often donate sugar for this event,” said Goharjan, a resident of Indian descent. 

“The colorful sachets [of sugar] symbolize our diversity. This celebration is intended to convey a message about sharing something good with each other,” he added.

Serak Gulo marks the birthday of Islamic preacher Shahul Hamid, an Indian who played a role in spreading Islamic teachings. He is a 13th-generation descendant of renowned Sufi saint Muhiyudin Abd al-Qadir al-Jalani. Born in Nagore, India, in 1490, Shahul often gave sugar to people around him. Sugar symbolizes prosperity in Indian culture.

For Goharjan and the rest of the Indian community in Padang, Serak Gulo is a way to show their gratitude for all the good things in their lives. They also see it as a tradition that binds them together and reminds them of their roots.