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The Ramadan and Ngabuburit Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

Bulan Puasa, or the holy fasting month of Ramadan, is around the corner. Muslims in Indonesia welcome the month of blessing with excitement. It is the month when Muslims truly devote their time to performing good deeds and religious activities, such as increasing prayer (‘sembahyang’), Quran recitation, and giving in charity. It is the month when it is believed that the gates of the heavens are opened, and the rewards for their deeds are magnified many times over. Prayers are answered, the status of the worshiper is elevated, and sins are forgiven.

OMP PRoduction_BacaQuran

Image: OMP Production/flickr/all creative commons

Given the importance of Ramadan, some offices start early or reduce office hours; therefore, the employees could go home early. Interestingly, though, Indonesians prefer to spend their time before fast-breaking time outside the house, engaging in ngabuburit while waiting for the call to Maghrib prayer (Shalat Maghrib), and the time to break their fast.


image: Tanti Ruwani/flickr/all creative commons

Ngabuburit is originally a Sundanese word, which means to seek amusement and distractions from hunger and thirst while waiting for the day’s fast to end at dusk, which has become a tradition in Indonesia; the word itself has officially become Indonesian vocabulary in the Great Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI). An individual or group can engage in ngabuburit, which typically involves activities such as watching TV at home, going out driving, walking, strolling at the mall, or reciting the Quran at the mosque (membaca Al Quran di masjid). For those who go in a group, they usually break their fast (berbuka puasa) at an eatery or a restaurant, and afterward, they have a Maghrib and Tarawih prayers in a congregation.



For businesses, ngabuburit means profits and increased sales as businesses use it as a marketing gimmick; various kinds of programs are organized to lure potential buyers to spend their time and money while waiting for bedug (one of the drums used in a mosque to notice about the time of prayer or worship), causing them to break their fast at the shopping centers.


image: kota serang

Let’s practice Indonesian and shares your stories.

  1. Do you have any firsthand experience with ngabuburit?
  2. Do you know any Indonesian words associated with Ramadan and ngabuburit?
  3. Are there any activities similar to ngabuburit in another country?


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About the Author: asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.