Celebrating the power of a woman

Introducing our kids to our national heroine 


Raden Ajeng Kartini (21 April 1879 – 17 September 1904) is one of the Indonesian national heroine in Indonesia. She was a prominent Javanese and was a pioneer in the area of women’s rights for Indonesians. The book of the letters that Kartini had sent to her friends in Europe titled Door Duisternis tot Licht (Out of Dark Comes Light) was published in 1911.In 1964, President Sukarno declared R.A. Kartini’s birth date, 21 April, as ‘Kartini Day’ – an Indonesian national day.

Though it’s originally celebrated as female’s emancipation day, nowadays Kartini’s day is more about celebration of Indonesian culture and heritage. It has become very common for schools, state’s offices or even private offices to celebrate the day. The common way to celebrate the day is by using Indonesian traditional costumes. Back in the day people would just use Javanese traditional outfit but as the day become more nationally celebrated, everything extends, from the outfit to how people celebrate it.

This year my school celebrate this day too. There are 3 agendas to be done this year; singing Kartini’s song, fashion show and riding traditional javanese horse carriage called ‘Delman’.

As we had already introduced Kartini’s song in the classroom, our students could sing the song together, though the older class (K1) had a better prononciation and memory towards the lyric than the younger ones, but many parents who joined the event sang it too.

The fashion show is one of the highlight of the event. Parents had planned their children’s outfit for days by making, buying or renting the outfit. The children came with variety of Indonesian traditional costume, all looking lovely and amazing. Parents took a day off just to come to school to see their children’s performing on stage. To them and the children it has become some sort of family day too. One by one, the children will walk on the run way, showing their incredible outfit to the audience and judges. Though it may looked like a beauty contest, but this kind of activity will develop our children’s confidence and love to our country as they need to know and state the origin of their outfit during the show. I feel so proud watching them looking great on the stage and getting to know their root. Seeing their efforts on coming up with the beautiful traditional costumes clearly has shown their support on carrying our national legacy. At the end of the day we chose the best performance from each class and gave them presents, but everyone participating was also rewarded with a goodie bag.

The ‘Delman’ ride was one of the thing that was waited curiously by all as not many had the chance to take a ride on it yet. We hired one traditional javanese delman to come to school and got our children to ride it in turns. Though some of them were afraid of the horse, many were so excited and wanted to ride it again and again. Even in the hot sunny day, they still had fun riding it around the housing area. I mean, where else could they do this (riding a delman with their classmates in a traditional costume) if not at this kind of celebration?

In the end, everyone had fun! Parents, students and teachers shared memorable time and more than just an annual event, Kartini’s day has become one of our way to build our love to this country, Indonesia. 


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