Muslims head home to celebrate Hari Raya

Indonesian motorcyclists prepare to board a ferry in Bali on Sunday ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival tomorrow, also called Lebaran in Indonesia and Hari Raya Puasa in Malaysia. Millions of Muslims head to their home towns in the annual migration, pa
Indonesian motorcyclists prepare to board a ferry in Bali on Sunday ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival tomorrow, also called Lebaran in Indonesia and Hari Raya Puasa in Malaysia. Millions of Muslims head to their home towns in the annual migration, packing ports and expressways on their journeys.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

JAKARTA • Millions were on the move yesterday in Indonesia and Malaysia as people returned to their home towns and villages to celebrate the Muslim festival at the end of the fasting month.

Highways leading out of Jakarta were packed with all manner of transport as people "mudik" with their families. Roads leading out of Kuala Lumpur were also jammed in the annual "balik kampung" migration that began in earnest at the weekend.

Both the Indonesian and Malaysian words mean "return to home towns", with the Eid al-Fitr festival - called Lebaran in Indonesia and Hari Raya Puasa in Malaysia - occurring tomorrow.

Indonesia's ports were busy as many took to the seas to return home in the world's biggest archipelagic nation of 17,000 islands.

In Malaysia's ports and ferry terminals, boats were mostly filled with Indonesians heading towards Sumatra and Batam. From there, many will take boats, cars and planes on their journeys homeward.

In Indonesia, several days prior to and after Lebaran, posko mudik - rest facilities - are made available along the popular road routes 24 hours a day, The Jakarta Post reported last week. The facilities usually provide a resting place, a message service and a service station for drivers to check their vehicles.

Along the North-South Expressway in Peninsular Malaysia, many rest areas provide free coffee to ensure drivers remain awake for the slow, long drive.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2016, with the headline 'Muslims head home to celebrate Hari Raya'. Print Edition | Subscribe