Bulan Puasa in Australia
Written by Kerem Doruk- AIYA Victoria
Translated by Adolf Richardo- AIYA National Translator
With the Islamic holy month of Ramadan nearing an end, Indonesian-Australians are celebrating Eid Al-Fitr with their family and friends.
In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Ramadan is referred to as the ‘fasting month’ or bulan puasa.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.
Following last year’s Ramadan in lockdown, Indonesian-Australians are now able to congregate each night at their local mosques and offer the Tarawih prayer.
During the entire month of Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. The act of fasting is meant to remind Muslims of the less fortunate and to reinforce the need to be thankful.
Several Monash academics are observing the fast and they shared their Ramadan experience and what fasting means to them.
Author of “Raih Beasiswa Unggulan ke Australia” Pratiwi Utami is observing Ramadan and shared what the holy month meant for her.
“The fasting that we do in this month is meant to teach Muslims to learn about patience and compassion.
“During Ramadan, we are encouraged to do more good deeds and share more to the people who need the most,”
“For me personally, Ramadan brings me peace and tranquility,” Ms. Pratiwi said.
The fast ends in a large meal which is known as Iftar. In Indonesia, this is called “Buka Puasa” or Opening of the Fast.
Dylan Dharma, a young Indonesian-Australian studying a Bachelor of Education at Deakin University shared some of his mother’s delicious iftar meals.
Being the world’s largest Muslim country, Ramadan in Indonesia is a massive event. This year, Muslims in Indonesia began marking Ramadan with communal prayers on April 13 in a socially distanced contrast to the empty mosques of a year ago when Islam’s holiest month coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PhD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies and a Lecturer at Departement of Communications Universitas Islam Indonesia, Iwan Awaludin shared what celeberating Ramadan in Australia is like as minority and some of the differences between Indonesian and Australia Ramadan.
“Muslims are a minority in Australia, so Ramadan here is obviously different from in Indonesia. In my country, when Ramadan comes, we celebrate it; you can feel, see, hear, and taste it”
In Muslim majority countries, Ramadan is felt in the public sphere with daily celebrations and food stalls ready to provide iftar meals for observant Muslims.
“Ramadan is a momentum for me to recharge my spiritual relationships, not only vertical aspects (to God) such as more focusing on praying, reciting Al-Quran, or contemplating myself to get Allah’s forgiveness; but also recharge my social relationships, such as increasing my social awareness and care with the family, Muslim community, and greater extend to society as a whole.” Mr. Iwan said.
With Lebaran underway in Australia, Australia-Indonesians and Muslims across Australia are excited to finally be able to celebrate at their local mosques with their communities.