MERDEKA!!! Sekali Merdeka Tetap Merdeka!
These words mean "FREEDOM! Once Freedom, Freedom Forever!". It was one of symbols for the Indonesian warriors who fought for Indonesian freedom when they were at war.
In every year, there is a precious day for all people in their own country, it is named Independence Day. On August 17, 2007, Indonesian people happily celebrated the 62nd Independence Day of Republic of Indonesia. The happiness is of their freedom from Dutch and Japanese colonization.
Indonesia as a tropic country is rich with various spices in each island (Indonesia is an country comprised of many islands). The Dutch colonized Indonesia for three-and-a-half centuries. And the Japanese colonized Indonesia for three years. It had happened when Indonesia consisted of kingdoms until it had the form of a country of Republic. Through the hard struggle, Indonesia reached the freedom proclaimed by Soekarno-Hatta as pair of the first president and the first vice president of Republic of Indonesia later.
Celebration of the Indonesian Independence Day is observed by people of many ages, genders, and regions. They do many creative and unique games like sack races, kerupuk-eating (kerupuk is traditional chips made of flour flavored of fish) (see picture 2), putting a pencil or nail into a bottle, marbles (see picture 3), eel-catching, dancing with balloons, soccer games wearing women's dresses, pinang-climbing (pinang is tree of areca nut), tug-of-war, recycle creativity, etc. In every province, the races were made based on their own traditional games. The winner of every game will get a present or trophy from the organizer, such as books, stationaries, food and drinks, or luxurious things like bikes, motorcycles or televisions which are sponsored by large companies.
One of games in Jakarta is taking money (coin) in a unique way. It is unique because the participants have to compete in taking coins by their mouth (see picture 4-6) in a limited time. The coins are put into a melon. The melon is smeared with charcoal and coconut oil and hangs on a rope. For each melon, there are three participants competing to get many coins. Besides being hard to get the coins, their faces will be black because of the charcoal. It is a funny game. The winner is the one who gets the most coins. He will get the coins collected by himself and others.
The others ways to celebrate the Independence Day are tasyakur (praying as a gratitude to God), carnaval (long march by wearing traditional dress), public discussion in certain society, performance of children and teenagers, charity fair by selling various traditional and modern food, beverages, and goods, etc. The local government of Jakarta, cooperating with many companies, held live concerts with national singers to entertain the people.
Therefore, Indonesian people are waiting for and preparing to celebrate the Independence Day each year. No matter how old the games, how many people join the games, or how hard traffic jams make participating.