Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Muslims across the country held festivals, torchlight parades, and various rituals to welcome the Islamic New Year 1440 Hegira on Tuesday.

Lots of Muslims across Indonesia celebrated the Islamic New Year`s Eve on Monday evening by holding festivals or flocking to the streets of their towns and cities to parade to express their gratitude to God.

One of the parades was seen in Cirebon, West Java, where thousands of people took to the street to hold a torchlight parade.

Abdul Hamid Yahya, coordinator of the torch parade organized by the Jagasatru Islamic Boarding School in Cirebon city, said that the torch rally promoted Islamic Brotherhood.

He, therefore, called on all residents of Cirebon city, especially Muslims, to make the momentum of the Islamic new year to reconnect the brotherhood.

During the march, the participants read prayers along the way.

The excitement of the Islamic New Year was not only seen in Cirebon, but also in Indramayu.

The people of Indramayu held a torch parade around the city while echoing Allah is great and salutation to Prophet Muhammad.

Meanwhile, several hundreds of high school students in Jambi, the capital city of Jambi Province in Sumatra Island, participated in the torch parade to welcome the Islamic New Year 1440 Hegira.

The torch rally was held by the Jambi provincial government on Monday night.

Acting Governor of Jambi, Fachrori Umar, who flagged off the torch parade, said the spirit of the torch parade was the spirit of humanity towards a better change.

The momentum should strengthen the relationship between the Jambi provincial government and community, he said.

The spirit of the Islamic New Year does not mean to have fun, but to improve our personality. "We should increase our enthusiasm to improve the region," he said.

The Jambi provincial government also held mass prayers and chants in praise of God at Al-Falah mosque on Monday afternoon.

In Garut District, West Java, Majelis Tarbiyah Wanaraja, distributed free range chickens to drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers, and horse-drawn buggies coachmen to welcome the Hegira New Year.

"We prepare 1,200 range chickens to be distributed to the community members," Chairman of Majelis Tarbiyah Wanaraja senior clerics Benghan Syarifudin said.

Around 6,000 packages of basic household needs would be distributed to the people.

The donations of the social service activities were collected from members of Majelis Tarbiyah Wanaraja.

Members of Majelis Tarbiyah Wanaraja also gathered in the mosque to carry out mass prayers.

In Papua Province, Muslims in Biak District held mass prayers at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque to welcome the New Islamic Year.

The mass prayers and chants in praise of God run solemnly, followed by local officials of Biak government, military and police personnel, and local people.

Chairman of the Baiturrahman Great Mosque Husin Tamher called on Muslims in Biak to strengthen their commitment to the value of faith and devotion to Allah, God Almighty.

Former head of the Biak Ulema Council Ahmad Burhanulhaq expected that the Islamic New Year could improve the quality of Muslims` faith.

Like their Muslim brothers and sisters in Biak and other cities, Muslims in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan Province, also celebrated the Islamic New Year of 1440 Hegira.

The city government held the Banjarmasin Nite Carnival to mark the Islamic New Year in front of City Hall on Monday.

The carnival was very lively because it was attended by hundreds of participants.

A variety of programs were shown by carnival groups, including torch marches, Islamic decorative cars, Asmaul Husna parades, drum band groups and middle-eastern dress groups.

The Mayor of Banjarmasin, Ibnu Sina, who took part in the carnival, expressed his amazement at the excitement of people to participate in the event.

"Banjarmasin, which has a majority Muslim population, deserves to celebrate the Hegira New Year," he said.

He also appreciated the enthusiasm of contingents participating in the carnival.

"We hope that our region is always peaceful and safe with the togetherness and tolerance that is well maintained by the people," Ibnu Sina remarked.

In Probolinggo District, East Java, the Ronjengan traditional music festival has become a vibrant marker of the Krejengan Village in welcoming the Islamic new year or the Muharram 1, 1440 New Year Hegira in the local area.

"We hope that the traditional art of Ronjengan can become an icon of the Krejengan Subdistrict as well as the Probolinggo District because it is one of the cultures of the local people," Krejengan Village Head Nurul Huda said.

The Krejengan Village authorities and all elements of the society agreed to be vigorous in the development of infrastructure and human resources, but would never forget and eliminate the history and culture to preserve the local traditions.

"This year, we plan to create a village park and we will build a Ronjengan monument to mark a new spirit and realize the cultural village," he stated.

Researcher of the Probolinggo Arts Council (Dekapro) Siman greatly appreciated the enthusiasm of the Krejengan Village community to revive the near-extinct local culture.

"Based on the government`s desire, we will return to the character of the nation that culture can instill morals that are in accordance with the nation`s personality," he said.

He thanked all parties who still want to follow up and preserve the culture as the identity of the Indonesian people.

The local culture is a culture of the nation that prioritizes spiritual values, morals and noble character.

"Such a local culture can fend off the negative influences of the western culture infiltrating Indonesia," he concluded.

Editing by Rahmad Nasution

Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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