Mudik (homecoming travel) is an Indonesian tradition, especially for the people from Central Java, East Java, and Yogyakarta. Homecoming in Indonesia is identical with this annual tradition that occurs near major religious holidays, such as before Lebaran or Eid holidays. For most Indonesian people, especially Javanese people, homecoming may be regarded as a tradition that should be done.
Homecoming travel is the activity done by workers who make their living outside their hometowns. Here, there is an opportunity to gather with relatives who work abroad, and there is also the sowan ritual (ask for blessings) from their parents. The homecoming tradition only exists in Indonesia.
During the homecoming they can gather with family, not only their closest family but also extended family. Sociologically, this is different from other holidays. Closeness, emotion and passion for the Lebaran holiday are bigger.
"The spirit of Lebaran homecoming is different from other holidays; both in terms of greater passion, and emotion. Look at those people who are willingly get pushed to each other on the bus or train or have to queue to buy travel tickets, or experience traffic jam along the way, "said the UGM sociologist, Drs. Soeprapto, S.U., on Monday (6/9).
Soeprapto pointed out the positive side of Lebaran homecoming which is a means to strengthen the relationship and communication; besides, we can take advantage of the homecoming’s momentum to reduce the number of jobless people in the village. "During the homecoming, of course there is communication. Those working away from home who have become successful can surely share their experience to their unemployed relatives," he said.
Furthermore, Soeprapto said the homecoming ritual from year to year has not much changed. However, besides being used as a means to maintain and improve social relations, the emergence of efforts to enhance their social status is often unavoidable. "It is undeniable that in order to be seen as more successful in their workplace, some people have to rent a car while, in fact, they are rather tight on the budget," added the man born in Indramayu on May 21, 1956.
The forced condition to enhance their social status among members of family or society at home is what sometimes can 'destroy' the meaning or essence of homecoming. Things to do this vary, apart from having motorcycles or cars, it could be jewelry or cellphones or other electronic devices," Soeprapto added.
Whatever happens, homecoming should not merely be interpreted as physical homecoming. In fact, the real essence of Eid is to make it a “spiritual homecoming", i.e. homecoming to the pure and holy spirit. This is certainly consistent with the essential meaning of the Eid. "The word Eid is derived from the Arabic word aada, which means comeback while Fitri means nature or origin of the events that are still sacred and pure." Hence, it means going back (going home) to the origin of events (which is still pure and holy), because man is indeed born holy. This is the true meaning of homecoming, which is spiritual homecoming rather than physical homecoming.
Related to this homecoming event, beforehand the Ministry of Transportation predicted an increase in the number of travelers who use motorcycles. There are an estimated 3.6 million motorcycles that will be used or an increase by 14.9 percent from the previous year. While the number of travelers using private cars is expected to increase by 4.6 percent from the previous year or as many as 1, 373 million units.