Holidays in Indonesia are sometimes called Hari Besar, which means Big Day, or even Hari Merah, Red Day because they are red on the calendar. So how does a western person celebrate western holidays here?
We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving October 8. Our Yogya SALTer Heidi Paetkau from Canada was the excuse, and Donna Runnals from McGill U. was happy to come as well. We had labu pie, pretty much like pumpkin, to go with the roast chicken and mashed potatoes, among other things. Also pictured are Pak Kris and Joanne Brown. We were supposed to be staying home due to threats from Muslim extremists to remove all Americans from the country in response to the American bombing of Afghanistan. While we were eating a dozen police officers arrived and set a 24 hour guard on us based in the empty house next door. They haven't left as of October 20 when I'm writing this.
We returned to Yogya from a week-long vacation on Lombok December 23. So no getting ready for Christmas had happened except for Advent worship planning at the Yogyakarta International Congregation. Christmas Eve was Sunday, so we went to church at Yogya GKMI at 8:00 A.M., then at 5:00 the International Congregation had its service of lessons and carols. After church we went out to dinner with Ron and Sally Jo Milne, newly arrived leaders of the Goshen College SST group which arrives soon. Christmas Day began when my secretary called at 5:45 A.M. to wish us merry Christmas. Then came GKMI worship, including communion, baptism and dedication of infants, starting at 8:00 A.M. Home again we decorated for Christmas, took pictures of each other and thought about baking cookies. The cookies didn't get baked.
Cookie baking did happen later in the week, at least we made peppernuts. The recipe was bigger than we remembered, as always. On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) we had our helpers Tari and Kris and their daughter Siti over for dinner. Since Tari and Kris wore clothes made out of cloth we brought from Papua, Duane put his shirt on too.
Two days later we went to their house for dinner and then on to the all-night Kesenian Kuda Lémpéng dance in their kampong.
Certainly a big day worthy of a trip to a tropical island. But what to do when you live on one? We decided to be tourists in Yogyakarta, the #2 tourist destination in Indonesia after Bali (where we were three weeks ago). So we went to see the Kraton (the Sultan's Palace), to batik and silver factories, and took pictures of each other.
Special food at home included Mexican chip dip on real imported tortilla chips, and chocolate brownies with Baskin Robbins chocolate mint chip ice cream. This was to remind us of our chocolate wedding cake with green mint frosting. Then Clare Ann packed to leave for Jakarta in the morning.
The churchly side was full enough. Our Indonesian church had three lengthy programs.
Duane sang in the men's choir and Clare Ann played piano for them.(Duane is standing on the floor and the others are up one to three steps.) Then we sang Silent Night as a duet with guitar. Duane preached and Clare Ann led worship at the December 26 Christmas celebration of the Yogyakarta International Congregation, our English-speaking church. Christmas also requires cookies. We had managed to get most of the ingredients for peppernuts and the frosted sugar cookies we needed most. Those went pretty well, with the usual problem of having too many cookies. Notice that the original stove and oven box have been replaced. Our cooking is oven-dependent.
We did Christmas breakfast the same as usual with wreath bread (missing the almond extract but not bad with fresh orange instead). We had used the advent Bible readings and candles through advent as usual.
Christmas afternoon we first change a tire, then check the dirt road to the house for nails again. Found a few.
Then it's time to do the Christmas cards that actually get mailed, and eat chocolate almond candy.
To finish the day in fine style Duane comes down with the flu. Fortunately it's just the achy kind.
We ate the Thanksgiving meal with Dwight and Kathy King at their house. The turkey was a large chicken. We had actual cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.
Last modified October 20, 2001. Prepared by Duane Ruth-Heffelbower.
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