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Indonesia prepares for Aidilfitri homecoming exodus

JAKARTA (XINHUA) – The holy month of Ramadhan and the celebration of Islamic post-fasting festivity Aidilfitri have been associated with a homecoming tradition, locally known as mudik, for many people in Indonesia with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The homecoming travel before Aidilfitri takes place in the big cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya. Travellers exit these cities by various means of transportation, overloading train stations and airports and congesting highways on the way to gather with families and relatives. This year, the end of Ramadhan is estimated to fall on April 10 or 11, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Arief Rahmanda, a 30-year-old man who resides in the eastern part of Jakarta, left his home recently with his wife and a three-month-old baby for his birthplace in Lampung province on the Sumatra island to celebrate the end of Ramadhan with his parents.

The trip took the family around six hours by car. The chief executive officer of a transportation consulting company Rahmanda had decided to depart earlier for his hometown in a bid to avoid traffic chaos, which could occur a few days before Aidilfitri.

“I don’t want us to be trapped in such a potential condition. It’s a wise decision if we travel to Lampung earlier,” he told Xinhua.

A recent survey conducted by the Transportation Ministry showed that over 71 per cent of people across Indonesia, home to over 270 million population, would be a part of this year’s Aidilfitri exodus.

Passengers aboard a free-of-charge bus return to their hometowns in Jakarta, Indonesia. PHOTO: XINHUA