President Jokowi Officially Alters the Nomenclature of Holiday from Isa Almasih to Jesus Christ

Nomenclature of Holiday from Isa Almasih to Jesus Christ
President Jokowi Officially Alters the Nomenclature of Holiday from Isa Almasih to Jesus Christ

In an official move, the Indonesian government has decided to alter the nomenclature, changing the term “Isa Almasih” (Jesus the Messiah) to “Yesus Kristus (Jesus Christ) when referring to national holidays. This significant adjustment is outlined in Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 8 of 2024 regarding Public Holidays, officially signed by President Joko Widodo on January 29, 2024.

The modification brings about four distinct changes in the way national holidays are recognized, now categorically marked as the Birth of Yesus Kristus, the death of Yesus Kristus, the resurrection of Yesus Kristus or Easter, and the ascension of Yesus Kristus.

The decree itself, within its first article, provides a comprehensive list of 16 public holidays. The schedule now includes:

  1. January 1 – Celebrating the New Year (Masehi);
  2. 1 Muharram – Observing the Islamic New Year (Hijriah);
  3. Isra Mikraj of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.;
  4. Eid al-Fitr (celebrated over two days);
  5. Eid al-Adha;
  6. Maulid Nabi Muhammad S.A.W.;
  7. Commemorating the Birth of Yesus Kristus;
  8. Reflecting on the Death of Yesus Kristus;
  9. Observing the Resurrection of Yesus Kristus (Easter);
  10. Recognizing the Ascension of Yesus Kristus;
  11. Nyepi Day (Saka New Year);
  12. Celebrating Vesak Day;
  13. Marking the Chinese New Year;
  14. Proclaiming Independence on August 17;
  15. Acknowledging Pancasila Birth Day on June 1;
  16. Observing International Labor Day on May 1.

Back in September 2023, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Saiful Rahmat Dasuki initiated the proposal for this name change in national holidays. The primary objective was to accommodate the preferences and suggestions from the Christian and Catholic communities.

Saiful explained, “This is a proposal from the Christian and Catholic communities, so that the nomenclature is changed to what they believe, which is the birth, death, and ascension of Yesus Kristus. That is their proposal,” during a session at the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture in Jakarta on Tuesday (12/9).

It is crucial to note that prior to the official decree, the government used the term ‘Isa Almasih’ when referencing the Ascension of Yesus Kristus and the death of Yesus Kristus. This alteration aims to reflect the country’s commitment to acknowledging and respecting various religious beliefs.