Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago and it has diverse cultures and religions which reflect on the number of public holidays we have throughout the year. The government recognizes six official religions, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
With these different religions across the nation, and the secular democracy within the system, the country has the constitution that guarantees all Indonesian citizen the freedom to worship each religion, therefore Indonesia has many public holidays which are mostly religion-inspired and which cause the nation’s financial market to be closed.
Major holidays are :
Idul Fitri (IED) this is the biggest holiday in Indonesia as being the majority of the population are Muslim, the capital city Jakarta can see and feel the effect of this holiday 2 weeks prior to the actual holiday with many people from lower socio economy start leaving the city to go to the villages. The city of 20 million people with traffic jams is one of the worst in the world, can see the difference several days before Idul Fitri as the city feels empty and traffic is moving well. This will be felt also till one week after Idul Fitri as many are normally still away in the villages.
Christmas is the second biggest holiday but it doesn’t have the same effect as Idul Fitri. The actual holiday is only on December 25, as they don’t have Boxing Day as a holiday unless December 25 falls on the weekend.
January 1 is considered a public holiday. The next one is the Chinese New Year which several years ago, this was not considered a public holiday but with the government being more open towards the Chinese community, they now recognize Chinese New Year as a public holiday.
We also have Hindu holiday, Buddhist holiday, Easter holiday, as well as Independence Day on August 17.
Most businesses, including banks and public offices are closed during public holidays but many shops and restaurants are normally open as usual.
By mid December, it is normally quieter in Jakarta for the expatriate community as most international schools have holidays for about two to three weeks till early January.
IMPACT ON BUSINESS
The most impact we feel for the business is the two major holidays, Idul Fitri (Islam) and Christmas (Christian). With so many people away a week before and after Idul Fitri, efficiency in the office is also greatly affected. This will be the same during the Christmas and New Year holiday, with many directors of companies away coincide with school holidays, the efficiency in the offices is also slower than the usual days.