Indonesian Lifestyles

Want to know what people from Indonesia do for recreation, what they eat or what they wear? This page is to give you some insight on how Indonesians live.


Although many people in Indonesia wear clothing very similar to those worn in America, there are some traditional types of clothing that are still used today.

One type of garment worn for both ceremonial purposes and for relaxing at home is the "sarung". A sarung is simply a large piece of cloth that wraps around the lower body at the waist. A sarung used for ceremonial purposes often have intricate designs and are very colorful. The ones used at home are generally plain and simple. On the island of Java, the sarung is only worn by men, however on the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), women also use the sarung. In the Java provinces, women generally use a "daster" as a wrap for around the house. This garment is similar to a robe.

"Batik" is a style of cloth making in Indonesia using a hand-dyeing method. Shirts and other clothes are made from this art. Batik clothing is a made from silk and usually has beautiful, hand-painted designs.


Rice is a major staple of food in Indonesia. Most people in Indonesia eat rice at least three times a day. "Nasi goreng" (fried rice), "nasi putih" (steamed rice) and "bubur" (a rice porridge) are only a few of the ways that rice is eaten. Spices such as curry and chili peppers are used in many Indonesian recipes. Other important foods in the Indonesian diet are fish, beef and chicken. Breads, cereals and cheeses are not eaten as much as in America.


The Indonesian child begins his formal education at about age seven. The first six years of elemenetary school are called "sekolah dasar". The next three years of secondary school are called "sekolah menengah pertama". High school makes up the last three years and is called "sekolah menengah atas". Indonesian students go to school practically year-round. Each quarter there is a two-week break between sessions.


The primary religion in Indonesia is Islam. Several special days pertaining to the religion surround important dates in the life of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Other religions in Indonesia include Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.


Probably the most important Islamic holiday of the year in Indonesia is Hari Raya (also known as Idul Fitri). In the month prior to Hari Raya, Muslims in Indonesia fast everyday from daylight to dark. Then on Hari Raya there are celebrations and feasts to commemorate the end of fasting month. Christianity is also practiced in many parts of the country, therefore Christmas is also celebrated and is a public holiday in Indonesia. The major Hindu holiday called Nyepi is also celebrated in many parts of Indonesia. August 17 is Indonesia's independence day and is celebrated as the national holiday.


Soccer and badminton are two of the most popular sports in Indonesia. Other sports include swimming, tennis, bowling and bicycling. The popular American sports of baseball, hockey and football are not popular in Indonesia. Some traditional pasttimes in Indonesia include the annual buffalo races that take place on the small island of Madura (between Java and Bali).
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