Today we celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day, known locally as Hari Merdeka. The day celebrates the former Dutch colony’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. Four years later, in 1949, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands formally granted Indonesia its independence, ending 350 years of Dutch rule in the Far East.
In the country’s capital of Jakarta and other large cities throughout the archipelago, this historically significant day is celebrated with elaborate parades including marching bands and floats festooned with Indonesia’s red-and-white flag. Flag-raising ceremonies also dominate the day, while performers sing the national anthem of Indonesia. Friends and families bond over activities like sack racing and climbing palm trees (Panjab Pinang) and show their culinary chops in cooking competitions featuring dishes from a myriad of cultures.
Using whimsical figures and rich colors and patterns, today’s Doodle by guest artist Aditya Pratama encapsulates the spirit of “unity in diversity” (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika) the national motto of Indonesia (derived from a 14th-century Javanese poem) that defines the joy of this landmark day.