Culture |

5 Essential Lebaran Phrases in Indonesia

Culture | 24 May 2019

The last day of Ramadan is just around the corner. As Lebaran approaches, Muslims in Indonesia are starting to make preparations to welcome the celebration. For those who do not yet know, these terms often come up in and around these seasonal holidays.

Two men and two women hanging out in Idul Fitri style.
Lebaran is usually used to reconnect with friends and family.
Photo by Freepik/NOWJAKARTA


Lebaran is the localised version of Arabic term Eid al-Fitr, which roughly translates to “the festival of ending the fast.” In Islam, Eid al-Fitr is the biggest holy day in the calendar. People celebrate Lebaran in many ways, such as paying off their zakat (donating to charity to help the poor and needy), conducting Eid al-Fitr prayer early in the morning, and in Indonesia people usually visit their neighbours’ and families’ houses to reconnect with them and ask their forgiveness for any mistakes they made during the last year. This activity is often called Silaturahim.

Another common term of Lebaran in Indonesia is Idul Fitri. During this Holy day, people greet each other with, “Selamat Lebaran”, “Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri”, or “Mohon Maaf Lahir Batin”. In English, the common term is “Eid Mubarak.”


Many people in Indonesia prefer to leave their hometown in pursuits of opportunities offered in bigger cities, usually the capital city, Jakarta. During Lebaran and other long holidays, these people usually return to their hometown and meet their families. This tradition is called mudik, which was derived from Javanese term mulih dilik meaning “coming back home for a short period of time.”

Two sets of MRT trains standing by in Lebak Bulus Depo.
Public transportation modes are usually full of people coming back to their hometown during Lebaran holiday.
Photo by Raditya Fadilla/NOWJAKARTA

People usually take roughly one week to go Mudik, making sure that they have enough time to be with their family before, after, and during the Lebaran holiday. During this period, big cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung will be like dead cities.

Keep in mind not to travel using public transportation to other cities in Indonesia during this Mudik period because the chaos can be unbearable. In addition, transportation fares are usually higher than usual.

Salam Tempel

Salam Tempel is one of the most awaited moment during Lebaran. Only for children, however. Salam Tempel is when older relatives give money to nephews or nieces, usually given when they shake hands. Roughly translated, Salam Tempel means sticking the money to the other person’s hand in a handshake.

This is why you often see people exchange their cash to a smaller valuation on the street one or maybe even two weeks before Lebaran.


Though Lebaran day is a rather quiet day, the night before will be filled with people singing praises to Allah. This is called Takbiran. People usually use open car while hitting the bedug (big drums) and parade around their neighbourhood.

The term takbiran comes from Arabic word Takbeer, which is similar in meaning to the more famous phrase, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest).

Parsel Lebaran

Salam Tempel might be considered as a gift to younger member of your extended family. For the adult, including perhaps your work colleagues, Lebaran gift usually comes in the form of parcels, locally named Parsel Lebaran or Lebaran Parcel. It may contain a wide variety of stuff such as fruits, packaged foods and beverages, kitchen appliances, and many other things you see more suitable for the recipient.