Customs and traditions
Traditions and label rules vary in
geographically dispersed Indonesia with its many
peoples. Some of the dominant features are mainly in
Java, where the majority of Indonesians live. Being
polite and showing respect for other people is
fundamental. Indonesians often talk in terms of halus
(polite, refined, soft and listening personality) as
opposed to barracks (rough, naughty, noisy). Being a
halus is an ideal.
In some parts of the country, the population is more
Orthodox Muslim (for example, in the provinces of Aceh
and East Java). There, the codes of conduct are more
stringent than in the rest of Indonesia, in terms of,
among other things, alcohol, dress, dance and women's
behavior. It is more common for women to wear a veil in
Overview of the capital city of Indonesia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
On Bali's beaches where mass tourism predominates,
the same codes of conduct apply as in Western holiday
resorts. However, old customs can still not apply far
from the seaside resorts, for example up in the
mountains in the interior of the island.
Times and greetings
Jam tub (rubber-time) is a common term in
Indonesia. Another is pelan-pelan (slow) and
sabar-sabar (patience). The concept of time is
elastic like rubber compared to a European way of
looking at punctuality. Fixed times for, for example,
meetings exist, but not arriving on time is not as
serious as in Sweden, for example. Lack of punctuality
could not jeopardize a personal relationship and it is
not perceived as something to be upset about. To hurry a
person is rude. Things can take their time. Patience and
indulgence are valued qualities.
Most Indonesians greet both women and men through a
handshake and a small, light bow to the head when they
meet for the first time. When they return, it is not
usual to shake hands again, but a slight bow is always
in place. Men should not touch older women in public
(except for a handshake), not even if they know each
other well. Do not greet with the left hand - it is
It is important not to show too much emotion, as it
can put people in embarrassing situations. A soft,
low-pitched voice is appreciated. Being discreet and not
taking up too much space is perceived as good manners.
Westerners are not often perceived as highly voiced,
self-absorbed and stressed.
An Indonesian rarely says to a person when others are
listening. To disagree is something you do not show
outwards. You would rather choose to agree with the
person you are talking to, even if the views really do
fall apart. Contradictions are handled in an indirect
way. An Indonesian rarely says "no" (which is perceived
as burdust) but instead "not yet" (belum). To
embarrass someone is a gross offense.
It is common not to say that you do not understand.
On the contrary, one can nod in agreement. It is also
common to give a positive answer to a question, even if
you do not know the answer. To not know is to lose face.
Instead, you give an answer that you think is the right
one. Pointing out the wrong direction when someone asks
about the road is not uncommon. Therefore, as a visitor
you should ask several people about the road.
If titles exist, they should be used, also in
informal contexts. People appeal to Pak
(married or older man), Ibu (married or older
woman), Mas (younger, unmarried man), Mbak
(unmarried, younger woman), Adik (younger boy,
teenager) or Anak (child). Most Indonesians
have only one name. Nowadays, however, some Indonesians
acquire a surname that is used when meeting with
Standing with your hands in your pockets or on your
hip is perceived as arrogant and nonchalant. Never
interrupt anyone talking. Feel free to ask about family,
children and marriage. It is considered friendly - not
intrusive. Feel free to say a few words of sympathy
about the tsunami disaster of Christmas 2004.
At business meetings, it is important to be aware
that society is permeated by corruption at all levels.
Business is hierarchical. Managers and other leaders
should act decisively and show the pondus. It is
important to bring up a discussion at the right level or
turn to the right person with the right questions /
Meetings and negotiations always start with general
small talk. A lot of time can be spent on "getting to
know each other" before the actual business deal begins.
This should not be accelerated or interrupted. It is
generally wrong to interrupt someone who speaks, even
though speeches and statements can often be longer, more
cumbersome and endure more repetitions than Westerners
are accustomed to. Avoid political conversation topics.
Buy bargaining is customary and respected.
Business meetings can tend to be long and delegations
are often larger than in the West. Ambiguity is not a
problem; on the contrary, too direct and sincere
behavior can be perceived as rude - sometimes even
Visits and gifts
Indonesians are hospitable, and spontaneous visits
are both common and appreciated. To receive a guest is
perceived as honoring. After being admitted to the home,
wait until you are asked to sit down. Get up if the host
/ hostess enters the room after you (in the middle class
it is common for a door to be opened by a servant).
After that, you will almost always be served something
to drink but only drink when asked. Remove the shoes if
the host / hostess does not have shoes. In rooms where
there are rugs you should always remove the shoes (in
the mosque it is mandatory).
It is unusual to bring presents when you have been
invited to a regular dinner, but in more
western-influenced environments flowers have become more
common. If you want to give something, it should be a
small gift, for example something edible or a souvenir
from your country. Gifts are not opened to the donor.
Do not give and do not receive a gift with your left
hand. It is considered unclean. However, to show extra
respect, you can receive or hand over with both hands.
You should also not yawn openly, touch someone's head,
point to someone, cross their legs or turn the soles of
their feet against another person.
The white rice is a staple food for both poor and
rich in almost all of Indonesia, although in some areas
maize, cassava, taro or sago are grown instead. As a
dinner guest, you are often offered rice, sate
(chicken skewers of chicken, lamb or beef), krupuk
(fried rice flour chips with shrimp or fish flavor) and
sambal oelek (chili sauce). Ordinary biddy
foods are also stews and stews - often very spicy - made
on chicken, lamb or kid. Fish and vegetables and hot
sauces belong. Common spices are chili, ginger, coconut,
lime, lemongrass, basil, coriander and hibiscus leaves.
Pork and alcohol are forbidden to consume for Muslims.
For the meal drink water, hot tea or hot lemon juice.
Coffee is popular but not as a meal drink. A meal often
ends with the typical Indonesian kretek -cigaretten
(with nejlikesmak). Only men smoke, at least in the
The food is served as a buffet on the table and is
not often eaten quickly and under silence. Food is
nevertheless strongly associated with social contexts.
As a guest in Indonesia, you are almost always offered
something edible - if only a biscuit or an egg with rice
and chili sauce. To refuse food can be perceived as
unfair. On the other hand, it is not bad to leave food -
on the contrary, you should. Eating all food is wrong.
The same is true of drinking - emptying the glass is the
same as asking for more.
The most common way to eat is with spoon and fork,
but it appears that you eat with your fingers.
Don't start eating until the host says goodbye (the
silk husband). Please praise the food! Avoid
toothpicks (if you need to use it, hide the stick with
your hand). And above all - do not receive or reach out
food with your left hand.
Indonesians often eat out in the many and cheap
street stalls. Despite the simplicity, one should not
eat standing or walking as in the western world, but sit
down on the street where carpets are often located or on
chairs if available.
Don't give tips on restaurants; a service charge is
included in the bill.
The dress code is usually more conservative than in
the Nordic countries, especially for women. Costume and
costume are common.
On solemn and formal occasions, Indonesian men often
wear a batik shirt, without a tie. The shirt is worn
hanging outside the pants. Typically, the men's black
peci, a kind of felt hat, was initially a
symbol of Muslims or Malays but is now associated with a
secular, Indonesian identity. Sarongs (hip hips
that reach below the knee or are foot-side, often of
batik fabric) are worn by men in the home, and are
considered informal attire.
Women, on the other hand, wear sarongs even in formal
contexts. In addition, a kebaya (a
tight-fitting, long-sleeved blouse, often of lace
fabric) is worn. The shoulder strap is draped with a
harness (an elongated piece of fabric which is used
everyday to carry toddlers or things). At festivities
and celebrations, women often wear sophisticated hair
sets, not infrequently with loose hair inserted, and are
Nowadays, it is quite common for women to wear a
veil. These are usually light, lightweight headscarves
that cover the back of the head. It is still uncommon
for full-length veils. The majority of women wear no
veil at all.
Around Indonesia, there are a large number of local
festivities, celebrations and ceremony days. Only
national holidays are reported here, of which only a few
have fixed dates:
New Year's Day, January 1
Muharram (Muslim New Year), usually in late
Imlek (Chinese New Year), sometime between late
January and early February
Paskah (Easter), sometime between late March
and early April
Nyepi (Balinese New Year)), usually in March
(sometimes in April), all shops close in Bali for one
Maulud Nabi Muhammed (Prophet Muhammad's
birthday), one day between late March and early May
Waisak (marks Buddha's birth, enlightenment and
death), a day in May
Ascension Day, one day in May
Hari proclamation chemistry dean (Independence
Day; National Day), August 17
Isra Miraj Nabi Muhammed (marks Prophet
Muhammad's descent from heaven), one day between late
August and mid-September
Idul Fitri (or Lebaran ; marks the end
of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan), two days
between mid-October and mid-November
Idul Adha (Muslim festival), in December or
Hari natal (Christmas Day), December 25
Difficult terrain and great distances have
meant that Indonesia has been investing in improving and
improving the infrastructure ever since the 1960s. The
road network is best developed in Java, Bali and
Freeways have been built, partly financed by car
duties. Buses and motorcycles are important for
passenger traffic. In Jakarta, heavy traffic has led to
air pollution and traffic congestion becoming common
problems. There is a commuter train system in the
capital. Commuter trains also connect Jakarta with
nearby cities such as Bogor, Tanggerang and Bekasi. In
many places on the outer islands, residents can still
only travel by riverboats and jungle trails.
The railway is state and in great need of upgrading.
A law on permitting private train traffic was passed in
2007. There are about 500 km of rail, mainly on Java and
Sumatra. Only a small part is electrified. In 2015,
China and Indonesia entered into an agreement to build a
high-speed rail link between Jakarta and Bandung with
Chinese financial support.
Boat transport plays an important role and most of
all domestic freight transport takes place by boat. More
than 100 of the country's ports are adapted for
ocean-going vessels. The major ports are Tanjung Priok
off Jakarta, Tanjung Perak off Surabaya, Belawan at
Medan and the port of Makassar on Sulawesi.
The country has around 200 airports, of which about
10 receive international traffic. The state-owned Garuda
Indonesia is responsible for international flight
connections. Since the air traffic was deregulated in
2000, a number of privately owned companies for domestic
flights have emerged, not least low cost flights.
A number of serious accidents have occurred on
Indonesia's roads, railways, ferries and flights in
recent years. This has called into question the safety
of the transport systems.
GAM leaders are elected governor
In the first direct provincial elections in Aceh, former leader of GAM
guerrilla Irwandi Yusuf is elected governor.
Abu Bakar Baasyir is released
The Islamist prayer leader Abu Bakar Baasyir is prematurely released from
prison where he served a sentence for conspiring with militant Islamists.