Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Independence Day is celebrated every year on August 17 by all Indonesian citizens at home and abroad, and this year's anniversary celebration is themed "Keep Moving Forward for an Advanced Indonesia" ("Terus Melaju untuk Indonesia Maju").

After participating in the ceremony in the morning, the people usually hold various traditional competitions for all age groups.

The carnival showcasing traditional attire, decorative vehicles, and other cultural arts performances also enlivened the celebrations of Indonesia's Independence Day.

The series of activities in regions and cities throughout Indonesia reflect unique ideas that are usually adapted to their respective traditions.

Celebrations in various regions

Residents of North Manokwari Subdistrict, Manokwari District, West Papua, held a traditional yospan dance or friendship dance and mash the land dance competition that involved all residents from 23 villages in Manokwari to celebrate Independence Day.

Manokwari District Head Hermus Indou has called on residents to love Indonesia and focus on positive aspects, such as preserving the nature and culture.

Meanwhile, more than 100 swimmers from some communities unfurled a 78-meter-long red and white flag in the territorial waters in Makassar City in South Sulawesi Province.

The initiator, Second Lieutenant Assistant (ret.) Sudirman, said the activity involved 140 people aged between six and 74 years, and the flag stretched for about 1.8 to two kilometers.

He expressed belief that holding this activity can be a symbol of love for the homeland as well as help in unifying the elements of the nation in line with the essence of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika which means unity in diversity.

"Hence, our community consists of various ethnicities, tribes, and religions," he affirmed.

The Kupang government in East Nusa Tenggara Province also held activities to celebrate Independence Day, namely a decorative boat festival, with 68 boats partaking in the event.

Acting Mayor of Kupang George Melkianus Hadjoh said that the competition should become an annual agenda and be carried out with greater enthusiasm, as Kupang Bay has a history as a center for trade and fisheries in the past.

According to Hadjoh, the decorative boat race crossed the coast Namosain to Lasiana Beach.

Furthermore, the Government of Ponorogo District in East Java also held a "Serenade Reyog Obyok," namely a sudden parade of 320 dadak merak, or masks used in Reog dance, and bucang ganong and jathil dancers in the square park.

The artists of the reog and jathil dance come from 19 districts, and there are at least 320 dadak merak. Ponorogo District Head, Sugiri, echoed the local government's keenness to accommodate the artists, especially Reyog Obyok, during the commemoration of the anniversary of Ponorogo District and the Indonesian Independence Day.

Residents of the western coastal area in North Gorontalo District, Gorontalo Province, also celebrated the Indonesian Independence Day by forming a configuration of letters and numbers on the beach.

Tolinggula Sub-district head, Toni Abad, stated that the celebration of Indonesia's independence anniversary must reverberate up to the remote areas, including the district's border.

"This time, we made a breakthrough in celebrating the 78th Indonesian Independence Day by involving 1,945 people in Tolinggula District," Abad remarked.

The configuration of letters and numbers -- "HUT RI 78" -- was formed on the shores of Tolinggula Beach.

People celebrate the Indonesian Independence Day on Thursday (August 17, 2023). ANTARA/Asri Mayang Sari

Meaning of "Keep Moving Forward for an Advanced Indonesia"

Fini Fitriani, who teaches at SMP Negeri 3 Rangkasbitung in Lebak District, Banten Province, remarked that the theme of the 78th Indonesian Independence Day meant that people must continue to move forward in all aspects, such as education, economy, technology, and culture, to achieve sustainable progress for the nation.

According to Fitriani, the younger generation can achieve independence by studying hard, developing creativity and innovation, engaging in social activities, and maintaining a spirit of togetherness and tolerance to build a better future.

Fitriani expressed hope that young people will be more enthusiastic about learning, innovating, and contributing to building a better Indonesia while still respecting the nation's history and struggle.

Meanwhile, Corporate Secretary of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, I Putu Mirayana, stated that the theme of Independence Day aligned with the plan of one of the popular recreations, namely to present a new face of Taman Mini.

"Hence, we also continue to move forward to provide the best experience for all visitors and hope that there will always be something new at Taman Mini as an Indonesian cruising park," Mirayana remarked.

Regarding the Indonesian Independence Day, Mirayana is optimistic that in future, Indonesia will really be on the right track as a developed country in the economic sector. In terms of culture and education, it is hoped that Indonesia can truly become a nation that is getting stronger and more recognized internationally, he affirmed.

The meaning of Indonesian Independence Day for Sakih, a student at SMP 76 in Central Jakarta, is that Indonesia must become more advanced than other countries that have started to recover from the pandemic.

"Indonesia must also be more sophisticated and great," he stated.

He believes several activities can be conducted by members of the younger generation to achieve independence, for instance, by participating in positive activities like what has been done by Pandawara, a group of youths that clearing up trash in various places, in order to preserve the environment.

Sakih is upbeat that school facilities in Indonesia, both in regions and cities, can be properly met, so that the learning process can run well.

"I also hope that the poverty rate in Indonesia can decrease," Sakih remarked.

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Reporter: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Sri Haryati
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