Indonesian snow comes to Jogja

On the morning of Friday, February 14, 2014, residents of Yogyakarta, Indonesia woke up to an unwelcome surprise: the so-called “Indonesian snow.” Yogya, as well as many other cities and villages in Central and East Java, were covered in hujan apu (ash rain) from Kediri, East Java’s Mount Kelud, which erupted with little warning during…

Siraman: The Indonesian Bachelorette Party?

Indonesians celebrate the day before a wedding a little differently than do most Americans. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness a Siraman ceremony, the traditional Javanese event that precedes a wedding. Siraman represents a physical and spiritual cleansing. It is not tied to any one religious tradition but instead to Javanese…

Visible Religion: Beliefs permeate life in Indonesia

“Before we begin, let’s pray together. Begin.” Then silence, for about fifteen seconds, as students bow their heads. “Finish.” This is the way the first class of each day at SMA N 3 Yogyakarta begins. Note that the N stands for negeri, or country—this is a public school. Indonesia has six accepted religions: Islam, Catholicism,…