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Mudik Prohibition due to Coronavirus Pandemic in Indonesia

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Mudik is possibly the greatest ritual conducted in Indonesia. Derived from the Javanese term “mulih dilik” meaning ‘to go home for a while”, the term “mudik” refers to the activity when migrants or migrant workers return to their hometown or home village or family ancestral home, during or before major holidays. The Muslims do it in Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr), the Christians in Christmas, and the Hindu on Galungan and Kuningan sacred days. However, since the majority of Indonesians are Muslim, mudik becomes particularly associated with returning to one's hometown during the Eid al-Fitr.

Mudik essentially takes place in various Indonesian urban centers. However, it massively occurs in Greater Jakarta, the largest urban agglomeration in Indonesia. In 2019, around 33.4 million of Indonesians returned to their hometowns, and 14.9 million of them were the Jakartans who left Jakarta by various means of transportation. Due to the sudden and massive exodus, for some days, the train stations and airports became overwhelmingly crowded. Thousands of buses and millions of cars filled the main roads, especially the Trans-Java toll road and the North Java Coastal Road so that they were sometimes massively clogged.

The tradition to go hometown for celebrating a religious festival like mudik is essentially a global phenomenon. Such tradition also exists in many other cultures. The tradition is different only in the moment for conducting it. The same mudik tradition during the Eid al-Fitr is also observable in other countries with Muslim majorities, like Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Bangladesh. Mudik can also be compared to the similar annual homecoming traditions conducted in various parts of the world, such as Christmas in Europe, Thanksgiving in America, Chinese New Year in China, Songkran in Thailand, and Divali in India, during which family members are expected to come home.

The principal motivation of mudik is to show one’s love for his or her parents in the Eid al-Fitr festival. This is combined with other motives, such as attending a gathering with other extended family members who scattered in other cities or provinces or even overseas. “Celebrating Eid al-Fitr together with parents and extended family members gives you invaluable happiness which is irreplaceable with money”, one of my neighbors I interviewed said. “Since seven years ago, my brother who migrated to Denpasar and two sisters (one living in Surabaya and another living in Bandung) agreed to return to Solo (a city in Middle Java), where our parents live, to celebrate Eid al-Fitr together with our families. Can you imagine how my parents kept on smiling and their faces sparkled with happiness while being surrounded and interacting with their four children, four sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren on Eid al-Fitr day?” he added. Another neighbor said, “Well, I’m the only child of my parents. I didn’t mudik last year because my first son was born one week before Eid al-Fitr. I guess they might miss something while celebrating the Eid day. So, this year it’s a great opportunity for me to add my parents’ happiness by presenting them the first Eid al-Fitr with their grandchild.”

A colleague of mine who teaches Sociology at a university stated, the current mudik tradition covers religious, psychological, socio-cultural, and economic dimensions. People today return to their hometown during Eid al-Fitr for one or more of the following reasons. First, they want to show their devotion to their parents in a religious atmosphere. Second, they want to release their longing by having an extended family recreation and gatherings practically and efficiently. Third, they want to regain their old habits and taste the foods they cannot have outside of their hometown. Finally, mudik can also be used by some people as social and economic lobbying within the framework of strengthening and expanding social capital. The majority of people go hometown mainly for the first three reasons. By gathering and sharing with their parents, brothers, and sisters, and experiencing the habits and atmosphere they miss in the urban city, they try rediscover their origins, like doves that return to their nests after flying far away. Fulfilled with such invaluable goals, they are ready to travel long distances, stuck in traffic jams, and even face the risk of being fatigued.

But people must be willing not to mudik Eid al-Fitr this year because the Indonesian government had decided on April 21, 2020, to ban mudik to curb the spread of COVID-19. A survey conducted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) at the end of March 2020, revealed that almost 44 percent of its respondents still planned to return to their hometowns although the government has called not to do so. Up to the time this article was written, COVID-19 had infected 8,882 people and caused 743 deaths. That’s why the ban was issued. By prohibiting people, especially from Greater Jakarta, the epicenter of the outbreak (in which 4.273 people have been infected and 407 died) to return to their hometowns, the growth of new coronavirus spread clusters in other regions can be avoided. Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security, Mahfud MD, stated that the ban will be even applied nationwide.

The mudik ban greatly disappointed the two neighbors I interviewed. However, they could accept the decision for it was based on a good and correct reason. The first neighbor said, “It’s very hard to accept this. But I have phoned my parents, brother, and sisters. They also realize the tremendous disaster we can possibly cause, i.e. spreading COVID 19 to our parents and other people, if we insist on returning to Solo for Eid al-Fitr. So, we won’t mudik this year.” He ended by saying, “We will just have video call together right on the Eid al-Fitr day."

The other neighbor, with gloomily said, “This pandemic makes it impossible for me to bring my son to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with his grandparents this year. If only I had brought my family earlier (before the mudik ban was issued), ... I believe my parents would have had the happiest Eid al-Fitr.” Like the first neighbor, he decided to use technology to "compensate" their mudik moment. “I guess, my parents' longing to me, my wife, and my son, and my homesickness can be temporarily treated by interacting through video calls. It’s OK not to go hometown this year for our nation’s good.”

My colleague, the Sociology teacher said, "It’s very hard actually for people to accept the mudik ban. Their wish to return to their hometowns has peaked, like the doves that have been flying far away for a long time but is now unable to return to their nests. However, they can accept it for the good of the wider community. Thanks to technology which can be used to lessen people's homesickness. Let’s hope next year’s Eid al-Fitr will be conducive for people to go to their hometown."

Author: Parlindungan Pardede (


  1. Thanks for publishing this informative article. I agree with the exodus ban because it is one of the most effective way to avoid COVID 19 spread. The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) predicted that by prohibiting mudik and conducting the large scale social distancing, COVID 19 could end in June 2020 (
    I interviewed four friends of mine who used to return to their hometowns every year for celebrating Eid al-Fitr. All of them, despite their disappointment, agreed to cancel mudik this year.

    1. Hello, Mr. Gallant. Thanks for the information. Glad to know you and the four friends of yours decided to help 'flatten the curve' by supporting the exodus ban. Stay safe!

  2. Hallo, I'm Angel Aprilia Panjaitan. According to the topic, I have conducted online interview via WhatsApp to investigate 12 participants’ perspective about ‘mudik’ and ‘mudik’ ban due to COVID 19 pandemic that involved 5 young adults (18-24 years old), 5 adults (25-30 years old), and 2 senior adults (more than 40 years old).
    The interview revealed that young adults and adults thought ‘mudik’ is necessary. Young adults did ‘mudik’ to celebrate feast day and 40% of adults in line with that opinion, while 60% did ‘mudik’ to visit their family whenever they need. Even so, the interview found 40% of young adults and 20% of adults didn’t ‘mudik’ because they lived in Jakarta with their extended family, while the rest of participants always ‘mudik’. In contrary, senior adults considered ‘mudik’ is not necessary. They conveyed that ‘mudik’ should be done for people who have good condition, enough money and time.
    By the interview, we found 11 out of 12 participants agreed completely with ‘mudik’ ban, while a participant from senior adults didn’t agree entirely with ‘mudik’ ban. A senior adult said that ‘mudik’ ban will be hard to do for people who can’t survive in the city during the pandemic. However, all the participants still support ‘mudik’ ban to end the pandemic quickly.

  3. Hi, I'm Marcelia. I have conducted online interview via WhatsApp to 5 participants’ that investigate about mudik, and ‘mudik’ ban due to COVID 19 pandemic that involved (a man 25 years old), (a woman 24 years old), (a man 30 years old), (a woman 23 years old), (a woman 44 years old).
    And I can conclude from the results of the interview is many of them said that mudik is back to hometown to gather with their parents and big family to "silahturahmi" stay to touch and share. mudik is important to conducted, but it's not we have to meet in person although mudik ban issued by Indonesian government due to COVID 19. we can stay to touch (silahturahmi) by call, vidio call, message, ect. all of them agree about ban issued by Indonesian government due to COVID 19 because it is for prevent disease transmission, and one of solution tobreak the chain of distribution

  4. Hallo, I'm Elyta Eureka Br Sukatendel. Based on the topic, the result of my interview (9 participants) about Muslim perceptions about mudik in pandemic situation consists of 3 young adults (18-24 years old), 3 adults (25-40 years old), and 3 senior adults (more than 40 years old) by face to face and online. In my interview, it can concluded that all participants argued that mudik is important for them because it makes them can meet with their beloved family who distant with them. Every year, one of young adults and adults always return to their hometowns, especially lebaran days, because it is the big day for all musim in Indonesia. But some of them think that if that they go to their hometown, it takes a lot of money and take a time too much maybe 10-15 hours driving car and in this current situation makes them decided not to mudik this year because since the recent mudik ban was issued by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19, like or not, they agreed not to mudik this year, they must accept the consequences issued by Indonesian government due to Covid-19 for the common good, for everyone goodness so that this situation quickly ends and until all of us can do our daily activities like before without feel scared.

  5. Thank you for sharing this informative article. I’m Deassy Wisudawati. Regarding to this topic, I interviewed 8 participants of mine who used to mudik to their hometowns for celebrating Lebaran and their opinion about mudik ban issued due to COVID-19. I did it by online and face-to-face with safe distance. The interviewee consist of 4 young adults (18-24 years old), 2 adults (25-40 years old), 2 senior adults (more than 40 years old).

    The interview revealed that in their opinion mudik is a tradition when they can meet their family and friends in hometowns. Most (90%) of them said that “mudik” is necessary to do every year, the rest (10%) said that “mudik” is not necessary, sometimes they return to hometowns every 2 or 3 years. All of them agreed and accept to celebrate Lebaran in Jakarta this year, some (50%) of them will celerate Lebaran with their family in hometowns by videocall, the other one (40%) will celebrate with their extended family that lived in Jakarta, the rest (10%) of them will celebrate with their neighbors. However, since the government have made the decision to stay at home, like it or not, all of them agreed to postpone mudik this year to prevent the spread of virus.

    Hope that this COVID-19 will be gone as soon as possible. Stay safe everyone!

  6. I agree with this article ,the mudik prohibition is the one way for increase the spread from coronavirus. However some of people feel upset because this prohibition. For me if that is the way to save our life I think why not. Our personal safety is very important. We can gather with our family soon after this coronavirus gone. Our focus in here is increase the spread from coronavirus.

  7. I agree with this article that explain if the mudik prohibition can increase the spreads of COVID-19. The prohibition make many people feel disappointed, including my bourding house owner's. The boarding house owner's said to me'' if this year, the bourding owner's can't celebrate Eid al-Fitr with her childrens and also her grandchildrens.
    For me personally, the prohibition mudik doesn't make me for to feel dissapointed. I think, if I return to my hometown, then I increase not to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the world. Why?, because without we knowing, during the trip we have been contacted with many people, including people who are positive corona.

  8. Thank you for sharing the informative article. I am Esta Melina Uning. Regarding to the article, I interviewed my friends and my neighbor Muslim's to see their perception of mudik and mudik ban due to covid 19. There were 6 participants consisting of 2 young adults (18-24 years old), 2 adults (25-40 years old), and 2 senior adults (more than 40 years old). Regarding to covic 19 condition, I decided to do online interview.
    The interview showed that 50% of them thought "mudik" is a tradition to return to the hometown. All of them said mudik is necessaries because it is the moment they can meet with their parents and their family members. They mudik to show their love to their family, make their relationship more close, make their family happy, release their homesickness, and celebrate some special days together such as Eid al-Fitr. They used to do it every year and one of them mudik every month or he called it as family visiting because he just needs 3 hours to arrived at his home. All of them agreed mudik ban issued by the government due to the covid 19 but there was one of them agreed and also disagreed with that. She disagreed because she thought that ban mudik is not an appropriate way because people who want to do mudik just need to wear/use self-protection tool and do social/physical distancing. Some of them wish the government take care the immigrants' needs. Even though they agreed with that, 90% of them have went to their village because the rule came out before it while 10% of them postpone mudik this year.

  9. Hello , my name is Hana. Thank you for the information Mr. Pardede. Due to this issue, i also interview my friends and neighbor through WhatsApp app. The participants are 9 people . 3 people each group (young adults 18-24 years old), adults (25-30 years old), and senior adults (more than 40 years old). The results revealed that all the participans stated that ‘ Mudik ’ is is a tradition to celebrate Eid Mubarak with their families in hometown, going back to hometown, a moment to brotherly bond, and go to the good places. A half of participant did not do mudik every year with reasons “ my big family is living in Jakarta” said one of participant senior adult , “ it's been 3 years he do not mudik because my parents had passed away and i just do open-house and ask my relatives to come” stated one of Adult’s group. I found that all of participants agreed that mudik was banned due to corona with following reasons ; Group young adults say it helps to stop the pandemic , group adults state the virus is really fast to be spread, it helps the government to cut down the virus, states Senior’s group.

  10. To know my fellow Muslims’ perception of “mudik” and mudik ban due to COVID19 I interview 6 particioants consisting of 2 young adults (18-24 years old), 2 adults (25-40 years old), and 2 senior adults (more than 40 years old)
    The interview showed that most of the 60% agreed that mudik should be ban and 20% diagree. Most of agree said mudik is necessaries eventhough they are do rarely. Mudik for them is to check parents condition, meet family, silaturahmi, release homesick. And for disagree it was because don’t need to afraid, who usually go home once a year now cannot because of that the will break of the kinship but can’t do nothing about that if it’s for the sake of our good
    The finding above was about their persception about mudik ban issued. They are have different opinion either agree or disagree. But for my opinion whatever our opinion about this issued the government still strictly prohibits homecoming activities to break the chain of the spread of Covid-19.

    1. im sorry for credit my name. my name is Menik Febri. Thank you for the information Mr. Pardede. Due to this issue, i also interview my friends and neighbor about mudik ban. that was information i got from them.

  11. Thank you for sharing this informative article. My name is Monalisa Aritonang. Based on my interview, i have interview 3 participants.
    The interviewee of one young adult ( 18-24 years old), One adult ( 25-40 years), and one senior adult ( more than 40 years old).
    The interviewee of young adult comes from North Sumatera. He said mudik is event when we are gather with our family in home town. “ If I have a chance I return to my home town, he said. “It spend a lot of money because the ticket is expensive when Ramadan,” he added. In this year mudik is ban by government. He agree with Government’s decision. He said that the decision is good. It can stop the spread of the virus. It also can save our family by stay at home.
    The second interviewee come from adult. She said that she always mudik in Ramadan. In her opinion mudik make her family more coser. Before mudik she always ensures his condition and health before going home. If not possible she will delay her homecoming trip. But in this year she’ll not mudik because the case covid-19. The government has also banned mudik. She agree with those decision. The interviewee plan to change her mudik to the next year.
    The third interviewee is older adult. The interviewee said that Ramadan is a moment that occurs only once a year. So he decided mudik every year and he still have parents. He want to celebrate Ramadan with his parents. In this year he should stop his decision return to his home town. He said that government ban mudik this year. He opined the decision of government is good to stop the spread of the virus covid-19.

  12. In order to know my fellow Muslim opinion regarding to mudik ban due to Covid-19, I interviewed 3 participants consisting of 1 young adult (18-24 years old), 1 adult (25-30 years old), 1 senior adult (more than 40 years old).
    The result showed that 2 of them said mudik is not really necessary while the rest said it is necessary because only in that time she can meet her family and her relatives. Most of them mudik every year on their holiday to visit their relatives.
    All of the participants agree to the government regulation about mudik ban due to Covid-19. They think the decision is made to prevent the spread of covid-19.

    Hope this pandemic will end as soon as possible and we can meet in our class.

  13. I'm Novella Florentina. Thank you for sharing this imformative article. Regarding to the topic, on April 28, 2020 I interviewed Muslim neighbors and friends through online and face to face interviews with safe distance. I asked my neighbors and my friends about their opinion related to mudik and mudik ban issued by Indonesian government due to COVID-19. I interviewed 13 participants consisting of 5 young adults (18-24 years old), 3 adults (25-40 years old) and 5 senior adults (more than 40 years old) .

    The interviewed show that everyone said mudik is an important thing or tradition for silaturahmi with families or shows their love, release their homesickness, and express their happiness together. Most (30%) of them always do "mudik" every year because it is an obligation and tradition in their family. Almost (46%) of young adults and (23%) of adults said that "mudik" is not always every year but every two years. Because their hometown are so far away so they decided to celebrating with their neighbors or extended families that lived in Jakarta and will celebrate Eid al-fitr by video call. The (15%) never mudik because they have no hometown.

    Almost (100%) of them agreed and accept
    "mudik ban" issued by the government releted to Covid-19 , eventhough they felt sad because they cannot meet with their beloved. But they wish the government take care with unemployment, low-income communities and immigrants. They agreed to postpone mudik this year until this pandemic is end or situation and condition better so next year’s Eid al-Fitr becomes conducive.

    I wish this pandemic will end soon.

  14. Hello, I'm Natasya and thank you for sharing this informative article. Regarding to the topic, their responses are a bit same which explained that they are agree towards government policies. Because it can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and they also want to continue their activities as usual and easily to do anything. They said it’s not a problem if government ban mudik for a while, because it’s also for our well-being. Yes, we really need a job, but in current condition we must stay at home and do our activities such as our job or assignment just in our home. Now, the economic is currently down, if you lost your job, perhaps you can use your creativity at home. Some of them lost their job and they don’t know what they will do in current condition. The respondents hope that government will help and guarantee them who lost their job, such as give them some foods or basic needs, something like that. They cannot mudik because of this pandemic. So, some of them hope that government will help who lost their job. They also help them who lost their job. They said mudik is not must every year. They visit their family in hometown around two or three years and they also miss their family. Now, technology is really sophisticated, so that they can communication with their family with their gadget, such as using video call and others.

  15. I interviewed (involving 10 participants) including Young adults (18-24 years old), Adult (25-40 years old), Senior Adult (more than 40 years old) by online. The finding above showed that definition and necessities of mudik and participants think about ban issued by Indonesian government due to coronavirus pandemic. All of them said that “mudik is tradition to meet family in hometown and at the same time do goodwill visitation it means visit to their family to strengthen relation to their family.” All of them agreed for mudik ban issued by Indonesian government, because the prohibition can cut off infection. They thought if they still mudik, they do not know if the virus is in us who mudik and the virus can adhere to us during go back, so they keep safe their family and holding their longing, upon recovering from this pandemic mudik can do. 3 of 10 participants as a college student and 4 of 10 as a worker (adult) and 3 of 10 as a senior adult. 3 participants (young adult) can do mudik because they have parents around them so, they do not think about money. 4 participants thought that cannot do mudik because they think about money and they can do mudik once in two years or three years. All of them said that “this year is different from another year because we cannot celebrate Idul Fitri directly but do to have video call”. They hope on our president state that “substituted Idul Fitri’s holiday at the end of this year”.

  16. Hello Mr.Pardede, My name is Amenda. I want to share my interview results. There are many of my fellow Muslims’ perception of “mudik” and mudik ban due to COVID 19, I interviewed 13 participants consisting of 11 young adults (18-24 years old), 1 adult (25-30 years old), and 1 senior adult (more than 40 years old.

    The interview showed that most of the young adults thought “mudik” is a tradition to return to the hometown. All of them said, “mudik” is necessaries because it is the moment that meet our parents and family members. They mudik to show their love to parents and extended family members, release their homesickness, and express their happiness together. Most (90%) of them always do “mudik” because it is an obligation. They used to do it every year or every two years. The 10% never mudik because they have no hometown. A majority (90%) of them agreed and accept “mudik ban” issued by the government due to the COVID 19. But they wish the government take care the immigrants’ needs.

    The findings above might not be highly comprehensive due to some reasons. First, the population of the survey consisted of the family, relatives, and neighbor have their different points of view and experiences of “mudik”. Although, the findings could not be generalized to other populations. However, the finding showed that there are many same reasons to each question. There are no big differences between the young adult and the adult data. They just give their opinion and experiences based on the questions which is all of the reason and explanation are just the same.


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