W Power 2024

Millions of Indonesians take part in exodus for Eid celebration

This is the second exodus since the Covid-19 outbreak, and the enthusiasm for mudik has revitalised Indonesia's battered transportation industry, which came to a standstill during the worst days of the pandemic

Published: Apr 11, 2024 01:17:16 PM IST
Updated: Apr 11, 2024 06:53:55 PM IST

Millions of Indonesians take part in exodus for Eid celebration Indonesia's transport ministry says up to 193 million people were expected to travel for Eid this year, up from 123 million estimated to have made the trip last year in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. Image: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP©

On motorcycles, cars, buses, planes or by boat, millions of Indonesians have travelled to their hometowns in an annual exodus for the Eid holiday that begins in the country on Wednesday.

Major seaports and toll roads have been packed in recent days, while airports and bus terminals were also full of travellers looking forward to reuniting with their families.

The annual migration known as "mudik", or exodus, takes a toll on Indonesia's roads. Travellers who pack their families and luggage into cars or motorbikes can face gruelling trips of 24 hours or longer.

Indonesia's transport ministry says up to 193 million people were expected to travel for Eid this year, up from 123 million estimated to have made the trip last year in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

More than 28 million were forecast to have left the Greater Jakarta area alone, enduring hours of traffic or congested airports and seaports to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with their families.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi called on those making the exodus to avoid motorbikes and take ships, buses or trains instead for safety reasons.

So many people were making journeys home that the Indonesian navy deployed a battleship to transfer residents of capital Jakarta who failed to get tickets to the Javan cities of Semarang and Surabaya, state news agency Antara reported.

Wosse Muhammad Arif Sani, a 28-year-old civil servant, spent 13 hours on the road in traffic to reach his wife's Central Java hometown from Bogor, a city south of Jakarta.

"For me, mudik is our tradition. And the lengthy travel time or issues on the road, that's the art, the excitement. Because the journey takes longer than usual. Seeing people on the road, that's entertaining," he told AFP.

"It's like back to zero again, gathering with the family without looking at background or job. It's a pleasure in itself."

Also read: From furnace to forearms: A story of Pakistan's delicate Eid bangles


Undeterred

This is the second exodus since the Covid-19 outbreak, and the enthusiasm for mudik has revitalised Indonesia's battered transportation industry, which came to a standstill during the worst days of the pandemic.

The government had barred people from partaking in the annual Eid exodus and applied tight travel curbs for several years to prevent the virus from spreading to rural areas.

Like China's Lunar New Year holiday or Christmas, the mass movement kicks off an extended holiday when many Indonesians celebrate Eid, the end of the holy fasting month, with family.

Azhzhairia Choirunissa Hardi, a 28-year-old government worker, made an epic land and sea journey that took longer than a day to reach her parents' home in Bengkulu on Sumatra island from Jakarta.

"This was the longest I've ever encountered," she said.

"I personally am undeterred, because mudik is a yearly event. For me it's not a tradition, but an obligation as a child to come back."

Post Your Comment
Required
Required, will not be published
All comments are moderated