Jakarta (ANTARA) – As many as two thousand people attended the event of halal bihalal, or get-together to celebrate post-fasting festivities, at the Guest House of the Indonesian Embassy in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, on Tuesday (June 4).
Attendees at the event comprised not only Indonesian Muslims in the Netherlands but also non-Muslims, students, the Indonesian diaspora, friends of Indonesia, the press, and Dutch citizens.
First Secretary of the Indonesian Consulate’s Protocol and Consular Function, Noira Solani, in a statement on Thursday, remarked that it was a day apart from Indonesia, as 1 Shawwal 1440 H in the Netherlands fell on Tuesday in accordance with the decisions of Muslim scholars in The Hague.
In the Netherlands, people call Eid al-Fitr as Suikerfeest, which literally means a party of sugar, as on that day, several sweet foods are served.
The name is derived from the Moroccan and Turkish communities in the Netherlands. If Suikerfeest in the Netherlands is celebrated by serving sweet foods, then Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the Guest House were marked by a special treat of Indonesian foods served on Lebaran, or the post-fasting festivities, specifically Lontong Opor, which is one of Indonesia’s traditional foods.
Indonesian citizens comprised members of the diaspora and Indonesian students coming from various cities in the Netherlands, such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Groningen, Leiden, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Wageningen.
“I am from Groningen, coming here since I want to go out with friends,” Shania Aurielle, an Indonesian student at the University of Groningen. He was ready to hitch a train ride, spanning a distance of over 200 kilometers, to get the same feel of Eid that he experienced in his hometown.
In the meantime, Daan Goppel drove his rickshaw or pedicab from Amsterdam to The Hague, followed by Den Haag to Wassenaar, to participate in celebrating Eid al-Fitr with Indonesian citizens.
“Since a young age, I was really interested in Indonesia,” stated the winner of the 2017 Indonesian-speaking speech competition, who had studied Indonesian language for two months at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta.
In the meantime, Tran Ngoc Linh Phuong, a Vietnamese studying at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, came to halal bihalal to experience the Indonesian culture. Similarly, Kililou Agrien from Togo, Africa, who lives in Rotterdam, also celebrated Eid at the Guest House.
The halal bihalal 2019 was special, as ambassadors and representatives from ASEAN countries and other fellow countries also attended the event.
The attendees comprised the Philippine ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Malaysian ambassador, Vietnamese ambassador, Thai ambassador, and Iranian ambassador, as well as the Azerbaijan Interim Authority, who will be the ambassador to Indonesia. Counselors of Bangladesh, India, and Thailand were also among the special guests.
Some snacks were offered in the afternoon as well as Indonesian culinary delicacies, including satay, soto Betawi, konro soup, karedok, guling goat from Bali James restaurant, and kebuli rice.
Some Indonesian singers belted out numbers to entertain the guests as they relished the spread.
The halal bihalal event, held by the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, was an annual event of a series of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr celebrations in the Netherlands.
In addition to celebrating the Holy Day of Muslims, the event deepens friendship and brotherhood between the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague and the Indonesian people, including non-Muslims and Dutch people, who have closeness with Indonesia.
Before gathering at Wisma Duta, Indonesian Muslims performed the Eid prayer at Al-Hikmah Mosque in The Hague.
Mukhtar Hanif Zamzamy was the Imam at the prayer, while preacher Muhammad Iqbal delivered a sermon titled “Caring for the Message of Ramadan in Life.”
Some 1,800 people, comprising Indonesians, Dutch people, and other Muslims, including from Turkey and Morocco, attended the prayer.