Religion in Indonesia

Indonesia is a multi-religious country. The officially recognized religions are Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism. According to statistics, 88% of residents believe in Islam, 5% of residents believe in Christianity, 3% of residents believe in Catholicism, and the rest of the population believe in Buddhism and Hinduism.


Indonesia does not have a state religion, but it is required to believe in the religion. Although Indonesia is not an Islamic country, it has the largest Muslim population in the world.


1. Islam

Islam was introduced in Indonesia at the end of the 13th century. At present, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and the number of Muslims ranks first in the world. Islam has an extremely extensive and far-reaching influence on the politics, economy, culture and education of Indonesia.


Islam in Indonesia


2. Christianity and Catholicism

Christianity and Catholicism were introduced in Indonesia towards the end of the 15th century. Now, Anfen and Ternat in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia are the places where Christianity is most widespread and has the most followers. After Indonesian independence, the government implemented a policy of religious freedom that allowed Catholicism and Christianity to achieve greater development.


Christianity in Indonesia


3. Hinduism

Hinduism is also one of the five main religions recognized by Indonesian law. Currently, Hinduism in Indonesia is mainly concentrated in Bali. There are more than 30,000 Hindu temples across Indonesia. One of the largest temples in the Hindu mausoleum is the Prambang Nanling Temple near Yogyakarta in central Java, built between the 9th and 10th centuries. The Prambanan Temple Complex is the largest and most beautiful Hindu temple in Indonesia, and is the carrier of the great cultural record of Indonesian ancestors.


Hinduism in Indonesia


4. Buddhism

Buddhism spread very early in Indonesia. Between 100 and 200 AD, the first Buddhists from India came to Indonesia to spread Hinayana and Mahayana. The introduction of Buddhism is also closely related to Chinese cultural traditions.


Buddhism in Indonesia


After Indonesia's independence, Buddhism was recognized as one of Indonesia's legal religions. At the annual Nirvana Festival, Indonesian Buddhists held a large gathering for the death of Sakyamuni. The Indonesian government has declared Buddhist Nirvana Day one of the national holidays.


Religious Etiquette and Taboos in Indonesia

About 88% of Indonesian residents believe in Islam, so most of the religious etiquette and taboos are related to Islam.


Religious etiquette in Indonesia

Muslims pay attention to etiquette. When meeting with acquaintances, in addition to exchanging greetings, they also recite “May Allah bless you,” and polite expressions such as “please”, “thank you” and “sorry”. Elegance, courtesy and kindness are virtues recognized by Muslims.


Islam plays a crucial role in Indonesian life. Devout believers go to the mosque to bow five times a day, take off their shoes before bowing, and then take a bath. In general, the atmosphere in the mosque is calm and solemn.


Religious taboos in Indonesia

1. Visitors must take off the shoes when entering holy places, especially mosques. No shorts, sleeveless clothing, vests, or naked clothing are allowed when visiting temples or mosques.


2. Children's heads cannot be touched because they believe that the highest part of a person is the head. Of course, the head is the highest and most sacred and should not be offended.


3. In Bali, you must wear a belt around your waist to enter the temple.


4. Indonesians avoid whistling at night because they believe it will attract wandering spirits.


5. Most Indonesians believe in Islam, so you cannot take things with your left hand as the left hand is considered dirty.


7. Don't wear too bare in Indonesia, especially in schools and government departments.


Religious Holidays in Indonesia

Day of Silence / Balinese New Year

The Day of Silence means Nyepi in Bali. It is the largest Hindu holiday in Bali and one of the holidays in all of Indonesia.


Day of Silence


Unlike the lively and festival celebrations, there are no celebrations on the Day of Silence. People sitting at home and meditating must obey the following four taboos: no fire (turn on the lights), no work, no activities, and no entertainment. During this time, all businesses on the island will be temporarily closed, with the exception of the main public facilities such as hospitals, firefighters and police stations. Pedestrians and vehicles are not allowed to move outdoors.


Islamic New Year

The Islamic New Year, also known as the Arabic New Year, marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year. The first day of Muharram in the first month of the Islamic calendar is the first day of the year. In Indonesia, Islamic New Year is a public holiday, and the whole country will take a day off regardless of its beliefs.


Islamic New Year