Indonesian Muslim Wishes You A ‘Merry Christmas’ Through His Name

In the wake of the debates surrounding religious arrogance in the archipelago, one local Muslim man suggests that all Indonesians should come together and promote tolerance. Just look at his name.

‘Slamet Hari Natal’ was born on December 25, 54 years ago in East Java. His name, which translates to ‘Merry Christmas’, was given by his parents as a tribute to the holy day for Christians that coincidentally took place the same day as Natal was born.

While showing his ID and family card, Natal revealed that his name was suggested by a midwife named Akas Kiyo, who was there when his mother gave birth to him. Kiyo was Christian and came up with the idea of naming the baby Natal with a Christmas greeting. In the end, his parents agreed because they did not want to waste anymore time looking for a name.

“It was supposed to be Selamat Hari Natal, but because we are Javanese, it became Slamet [which loosely refers to ‘safe’ in Javanese],” Natal said as quoted by Straits Times.

Although Natal’s name is clearly associated with the Christian holy celebration, he still declares himself a proud Muslim. Natal also claimed that his neighbours have never had any problem with his arguably controversial name. “No, never. We practice tolerance here,” he added.

 

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Caranissa is an editor at Indonesia Expat. She occassionally writes, dances and performs on stage.


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