The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and first lady Iriana wished all Indonesians a happy Idul Fitri in a subdued video greeting as the country celebrates the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan differently amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
It is customary for Indonesians to gather with their families in their hometowns for Idul Fitri, in a tradition known as mudik (exodus). This year, however, the government has banned the mudik to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We celebrate differently, because [now] we all need to make sacrifices to refrain from the usual mudik and [family] gatherings,” Jokowi said in a video message on the State Palace YouTube channel on Saturday.
He urged the public to prioritize their health and that of their families.
“I am sure that, together, as a country, we can make it through this trying time,” he said. “Happy Idul Fitri, forgive me for my physical and emotional wrongdoings.”
The President himself would be spending the holiday at Bogor Palace in West Java instead of his hometown Surakarta in Central Java, presidential spokesperson Angkie Yudistia said separately.
“This is part of the President’s commitment to physical distancing and reducing the potential for COVID-19 transmission,” she said in a statement on Saturday. “Gatherings and open house events are also temporarily canceled, as current conditions do not allow for them.”
Previously, Coordinating Legal, Political and Human Rights Minister Mahfud MD noted that mass Idul Fitri prayers in mosques or public squares had been prohibited through the Health Ministry’s regulation on large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) and the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), chaired by Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, has also issued a fatwa that allows Idul Fitri prayers to be performed at home.
The virus outbreak has also forced Muslims to forgo other religious rituals and traditions during Ramadan as the Religious Affairs Minister called to avoid performing the tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers) in congregation as well as visiting relatives’ graves.