Christmas in Indonesia

Although most people in Indonesia (about 85%) are Muslims, about 10% of the population are Christians - that's still about 20 million people! Indonesian Christians love to celebrate Christmas!

Indonesian Christians usually go to church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In most churches and cathedrals, people create nativity scenes and use them as part of the Nativity drama performance.

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Christmas trees in Indonesia are normally artificial ones made of plastic. Although less common, some people have real Pine trees to be decorated as Christmas trees. The biggest producer of 'real' trees is located in Puncak, West Java. Another special type of Christmas tree are ones made from chicken feathers - made by people in their homes on Bali island. These feather trees have been exported to different countries around the world.

In early December, huge Christmas trees with beautiful and colorful decorations can be found in most shopping malls in big cities all over the country. In 2011 there was also a huge Christmas tree made of edible chocolate, created by professional Indonesian chocolatiers!

Popular Christmas carols in Indonesia include 'Malam Kudus' (an Indonesian version of 'O Holy Night') and 'Malam Kudus' (an Indonesian version of 'Silent Night'). These songs are usually sung on Christmas Eve in churches by a choir during the candle-light service, when people think about the Christmas story.

Most Indonesian television channels broadcast Christmas themed musical concerts. An annual Christmas celebration event, held by the Indonesian Government, is always broadcast by the state-owned television channel 'TVRI'. The most popular Hollywood movies broadcasted in Indonesian during Christmas are the Home Alone series!

In Indonesia, Santa Claus is also very popular and is called 'Sinterklass' (that's because Indonesia used to be ruled by The Netherlands). Sinterklass brings presents to children on Christmas Day - and you also might see him in shopping malls, etc.! Exchanging presents is common among Christians in Indonesia.

Cookies are a must-have food during Christmas in Indonesia. Some popular types of cookies include 'Nastar' a butter cookie with pineapple jam filling, cheese cookies called 'Kastengel' and 'Putri Salju' or 'Snow White' cookies, a butter cookie covered with powdered sugar and cheese!

In Indonesia, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Selamat Natal'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.