YOGYAKARTA - Every August 17th, the Indonesians celebrate the fact they threw out the Dutch in 1945. Merdeka! Now wait a second, they had to wait a few years more for that to materialise, so officially the day is called Hari Proklamasi, the day they proclaimed the Republik Indonesia. Whatever, it is a national holiday anyway, and it is celebrated all over Indonesia.
Not surprisingly - Indonesians being fond of children - most activities on that day focus on games for children.
However, the main and closing activity traditionally is climbing a tall greased pole, on top of which lots of presents have been attached. Every year (again and again), the people that try to climb the pole find out they cannot get to the goodies on their own. It needs teamwork to climb the pole and hand out the presents to the people below. So apart from fun, it is also symbolic. Indonesia will prosper when its people will work together.
The videos above were shot in the kampung of Sumberbatikan - some 20 kilometres south of Yogyakarta - in 2006, only a few weeks after the devastating earthquake that claimed almost 5,800 lives and destroyed more than 135,000 houses in the Yogya-Klaten area.