The Jakarta Post
The 2018 national Easter celebration at Lake Toba in North Sumatra got a warm welcome from the public as it was led by a female Muslim.
Led by North Sumatra Deputy Governor Nurhajizah Marpaung, the national Easter celebration proceeded smoothly with a wide array of events, including a torch relay across 15 provinces of three main islands of Indonesia.
The Easter torch relay started on Tondano Island in North Sulawesi and ended at Lake Toba on Saturday. It was the first torch relay held as part of the national Easter celebration, which has been conducted 14 times.
Nurhajizah said that, as a Muslim, she was very happy that she could make the 2018 national Easter celebration successful. The deputy governor admitted that, initially, a number of Protestant church leaders had rejected her appointment to lead the Easter celebration this year. She chose to ignore their rejection, however.
Nurhajizah said her involvement in the Easter celebration was purely motivated by a sense of brotherhood among human beings.
“We can be different from one another. I’m wearing a headscarf; other women wear hair buns. Some men wear clergy robes, while others wear the kopiah. Just go ahead, because it is all related to our faiths and beliefs. However, let’s maintain our brotherhood,” said Nurhajizah in her remarks during the closing ceremony at Si Singamangaraja Square, Balige, on Saturday.
Nurhajizah called on church congregations to use the Easter celebration as a moment to revive the culture of the Batak people that was rich with precious life values and principles but had started to fade away.
“Let’s search together our victory as a diverse society that has begun to disappear,” said Nurhajizah. (ebf)