Indonesians pack markets to prepare Eid foods, clothes
Vendors enjoy increased demand and prices as crowds seeks ingredients for traditional dishes for holiday marking end of Ramadan

Indonesians crowded marketplaces across the world’s most populous Muslim country Wednesday in pursuit of food items and garments to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday -- known locally as Lebaran.

While the religious ministry will determine the date of Eid – which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan -- in a meeting Thursday after observing the moon, preparations have begun with the expectation that it will fall on Friday.

Markets and shops in downtown Semarang, a port city in Central Java province, were packed with shoppers as they examined the varieties of meats, desserts and clothing on display.

Sri Lestari, a teacher who bought several kilograms of beef and chicken for special Eid dishes, told Anadolu Agency, "my big family comes from different areas and I want to serve food that is appropriate for them."

She expressed plans to prepare "opor” (chicken curry), "sambal goreng ati” (spicy beef liver) and "semur daging” (stewed meat), and to serve them with "ketupat” (a dumpling made from rice packed inside a diamond-shaped container woven from palm leaf).

Arrum Lestari, a housewife, said she would make "wajik ketan" – a sweet dish made of steamed sticky rice flavored with palm sugar, coconut milk and a knotted palm leaves – since it was her family's favorite and symbolized harmony.

"The production process is not easy and takes a couple of hours. But that does not matter because this moment [Eid al-Fitr] occurs only once a year," she told Anadolu Agency. "My hope is that our family will always be in harmony."

Vendors also welcomed Eid enthusiastically, expressing gratitude for the increased demand – and prices – that comes with the merry-making.

Ahmad Fauzi, a butcher, told Anadolu Agency that he would maintain extra stocks of beef until seven days after Eid due to high demand.

The father-of-two said he was content with the holiday-time rise in beef prices, which increased by 15 percent from Rp100,000 ($7.50) per kilogram to Rp120,000 ($9.00) per kilogram.

"People always buy my supplies although they complain it is expensive," he said.

The demand for certain snacks have also increased as early as two weeks ago, according to a shop owner who said she and her two employees had been working overtime each day.

Hanifah – who like many Indonesians uses only one name -- told Anadolu Agency, "typically people buy snacks in bulk and in various types, so I have to prepare a lot."

Having been in business for four years, she said some of the popular cookies served to guests included "putri salju” (cookies with powdered sugar), "kastengel” (cheese cookies) and "nastar” (pineapple jam cookies).

Shops selling food and dessert, however, were not alone in enjoying increased business as people excited for the holiday also flocked to find new clothes to don for the celebration.

Sobari, who sells imported second-hand clothes in Semarang, said hundreds of shoppers had packed his store since last week to buy items such as jeans, children's clothes, dresses and shirts.

"They chose second-hand items because it is cheaper, but their condition is still good," he told Anadolu Agency, adding that the shop’s revenue had doubled in a single day.

A customer said she had bought three items for herself, her husband and their child.

"The increased price for almost all Eid necessities forces me to manage finances carefully," Susilowati, who works at a factory, told Anadolu Agency. "If I buy new clothes, it's expensive. So it is okay to use second-hand ones. They’re still okay.”

Saying she had spent less than Rp200,000 ($15) to buy three articles of clothing, she underlined, "in an ordinary clothes shop, it might have cost me double."

Last Modified: 2015-07-15 12:20:37
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