August 17, 2010

Indonesian National Day

This holiday celebrates Indonesia's independence from 350 years of Dutch rule. Many people and businesses decorate in red and white and display flags. There are festivities such as races, bicycle decorating contests, and eating contests – how many shrimp chips can you eat?

One of the most popular contests is involves climbing palm trees whose trunks are well greased with a mixture of clay and oil. In the top of each tree hangs a prize, such as a TV or a bike.
Whoever gets to the top first gets the prize. Apparently muddy, greasy kids and adults climb over each other in their eagerness to get to the top first.

Did you know...?
  • The vast majority of Indonesians are Muslim, but Indonesia is home to the largest Buddhist monument in the world, Borobudur.

  • Indonesia has many, many, many active volcanoes—at least 150! This number includes Krakatoa and Tambora, both famous for devastating eruptions during the 1800s. The Toba supervolcano around 70,000 years ago is one of the largest eruptions EVER, anywhere on Earth. That supervolcanic eruption is thought to have caused most humans then alive in the entire world to die.
  • Indonesia is made up of 17,508 islands! Only around 6,000 are occupied. (At the link, click "Show Map." You can scroll around the map, and you can choose “satellite,” “terrain,” and so forth.)
  • Indonesia is home to some amazing creatures, including the nine-and-a-half-foot Komodo dragon and the orangutan.

Learn some Indonesian.
Hello-World has flash cards, games, and lessons.

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