National Awakening Day in Indonesia Date in the current year: May 20, 2024

National Awakening Day in Indonesia National Awakening Day (Hari Kebangkitan Nasional) is an Indonesian observance held annually on May 20. It commemorates the creation of the first Indonesian nationalist group, Budi Utomo, in 1908.

The colonial era in Indonesian history began in the 16th century, as European powers were expanding their spice trade. The Dutch government granted the Dutch East India Company a monopoly on Asian trade in 1602; a year later, the company established its first permanent trading post in Indonesia. The company was dissolved in 1800 due to bankruptcy, and its assets were nationalized. The former trading posts of the Dutch East India Company formed the colony of the Dutch East Indies.

The national awakening in the Dutch East Indies began in the early 20th century. The first native cultural and political society in the colony was Budi Utomo (“Prime Philosophy”). It was founded on May 20, 1908 by Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo, a retired government physician.

Budi Utomo consisted primarily of students, many of whom were enrolled in the School for the Training of Native Physicians (STOVIA), and Soedirohoesodo soon gave up the leadership in favor of young organizers. In 1910, the society was officially recognized by the colonial authorities. At the time, it numbered about 10,000 members.

The establishment of Budi Utomo is considered the beginning of the Indonesian National Awakening which eventually led to the country’s independence. The Day of the National Awakening in Indonesia has been celebrated since the formal recognition of its independence in 1948. Although not a public holiday, it still is a very important commemoration for all Indonesians.

In 2008, National Awakening Day was also declared Indonesian Doctor Day (Hari Bakti Dokter Indonesia) by the Indonesian Medical Association to emphasize the contribution of STOVIA students to the Indonesian National Awakening and the country’s independence. It should not be confused with National Doctors Day (Hari Dokter Nasional), celebrated on October 24 to commemorate the founding anniversary of the Indonesian Medical Association.

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National Awakening Day in Indonesia, Day of the National Awakening, holidays in Indonesia, observances in Indonesia, Budi Utomo