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Muharram or Islamic New Year 2023

Muḥarram is the first and the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. It's a national holiday in Indonesia, and in many regions it is marked with festivals and special events

Muharram or Islamic New Year

One of the most prominent events is the ritual of Tabot. It is held in Bengkulu, on the southwest coast of Sumatra. The people of Bengkulu commemorate the tragic death of the prophet Muhammad's grandson, Husein bin Ali Bin Abi Thalib, in the battle of Karbala Iraq in 681 AH. Tabot or Tabut means an Ark in Arabic, and large wooden structures called tabots are built in commemoration during the first 10 days of Muharram.

A similar festival, called Tabuik, is held by the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, especially in the city of Pariaman. The culmination of this celebration is the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala, which is accompanied by tassa and dhol drums.

Tabuik is made from bamboo, wood, rattan, and even paper. Other activities include kite racing, traditional performances, and dances (such as the Tari Piring). At the end of the holiday, the tabuik is thrown into the sea and people go swimming to collect pieces of the tabuik as souvenirs. Although originally a Shi'a festival, it is now widely celebrated in Pariaman, even by non-Muslims.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin