Agustus 18, 2023


 Oleh: Muhamad Rehan

(Mahasiswa Sastra Inggris FISIP Universitas Bangka Belitung

Cultures and traditions vary greatly across different regions, often reflecting the unique history, beliefs, and values of the local communities. In Southeast Asia, the Bangka Belitung islands and Padang City in Indonesia offer fascinating examples of diverse cultural practices, particularly when it comes to special night occasions. These two regions, with their distinct backgrounds and influences, have developed rich traditions that set them apart from one another. This article delves into the contrasting special night occasion traditions found in the Bangka Belitung islands and Padang City, shedding light on their origins, significance, and the factors that have shaped them over time. By exploring these regional differences, we gain valuable insights into the cultural tapestry of Indonesia and the diverse ways in which communities celebrate and commemorate important moments.


The Historical of Saturday Night

The significance of Saturday night as a special occasion has deep historical roots, shaped by various cultural influences across different regions. From the Roman Empire to European societies and even the Dutch colonial era in Indonesia, the traditions associated with Saturday night have evolved and left lasting imprints on local customs. This article explores the historical background of Saturday night, its Roman origins, its influence on European citizens, and the impact of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia. By tracing the historical development and cultural interplay surrounding Saturday night, we gain a deeper understanding of its importance in different societies and its role in shaping cultural practices worldwide.


The Roman Influence

The Roman civilization, renowned for its immense cultural and societal contributions, played a pivotal role in shaping the tradition of Sunday as a holiday. The Romans recognized the significance of a designated day of rest and used Sundays for religious worship and leisure activities. The concept of Sunday as a day of rest spread throughout the Roman Empire, influencing neighboring regions and communities.



Picture 1.0 Raphael-St Paul Preaching at Athens_c.1515-6


The Romans had a sophisticated calendar system, and they marked holidays and important days in red. This practice not only aided in distinguishing special occasions but also highlighted the significance of these days in the Roman society. The visual prominence of red in the calendar further emphasized the importance of holidays, including Sundays, which were regarded as sacred.


Influence on European Citizens

As the Romans expanded their empire, their customs and traditions spread across Europe. The tradition of Sunday being a day of rest and worship gradually permeated into the daily lives of European citizens, shaping their routines and establishing Sunday as an essential part of their cultural heritage. The influence of the Roman tradition created a shared understanding and reverence for Sundays among various European communities.

Picture 2.0 Saturnalia_by_Antoine_Callet


Dutch Influence in Indonesia

The Dutch, known for their extensive colonial empire, held control over Indonesia for 350 years. And The Dutch settlers in Indonesia continued to observe Sundays as a day of rest and religious observance, integrating it into the local communities. That is why until now, Sunday has become a national holiday in Indonesia. Our calendar system also colors holidays and other important days in red like the Romans.

Picture 3.0 Nicolaas Pieneman - The Submission of Prince Dipo Negoro to General De Kock


Padang Special Night Occasion

Saturday Night: On Saturday nights in Padang, you can explore the bustling city center, particularly around the iconic Siti Nurbaya Bridge. There are numerous restaurants and street food stalls offering Padang cuisine, known for its rich flavors and spicy dishes. You can have a lively dinner experience by trying Nasi Padang, where you'll be served a variety of flavorful dishes accompanied by steamed rice. Afterward, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach promenade or enjoy live music performances at one of the entertainment venues.

Picture 4.0 Siti Nurbaya Bridge


Wednesday Night: While the atmosphere may be quieter compared to the weekend, you can still enjoy local cuisine at restaurants and cafes in Padang. For a more relaxed evening, you can visit one of the traditional Padang coffee shops known as "warung kopi," where you can sip on a cup of coffee or tea while chatting with friends. You may also explore night markets that offer various local snacks and traditional handicrafts.



Bangka Belitung Islands Special Night


In the enchanting Bangka Belitung Islands Province, there are two special nights that have gained fame among the young population: Wednesday Night and Saturday Night. These nights hold a significant cultural and historical value, as they are rooted in the tradition of gathering and hanging out in recreational places that has been prevalent since 1816. This article explores the origins of this tradition and sheds light on the historical context behind the popular gathering nights in Bangka Belitung.

The tradition of gathering together on Wednesday and Saturday nights in Bangka Belitung Islands dates back to the colonial era. During that time, the region was known for its abundant tin deposits, which attracted many Dutch and Malay workers. The tin workers, known as "Dagtak" in Dutch and "Kung" in Malay, played a crucial role in the local economy. It was customary for these workers to receive their wages in the form of land, money, or tin, which were distributed only on Wednesday or Saturday nights. The habit of gathering together on Wednesday and Saturday nights transcended mere economic transactions. It evolved into a social tradition where people would come together to relax, unwind, and enjoy each other's company. Recreational places such as Merdeka Park Square and other tourist attractions became popular venues for these gatherings. Generation after generation, the practice of meeting on these designated nights became deeply ingrained in the local culture. 

Picture 5.0 Merdeka Park Square


Wednesday Night and Saturday Night gatherings have become an integral part of the social fabric in Bangka Belitung. These events provide an opportunity for community bonding, fostering relationships, and preserving shared traditions. Young people, in particular, enthusiastically participate in these gatherings, finding solace and enjoyment in the company of their peers.


Picture 6.0 Warkop Papa


In present-day Bangka Belitung, the tradition of Wednesday Night and Saturday Night gatherings continues to thrive. Although the economic dynamics and nature of work have changed over time, the tradition has persevered as a symbol of community spirit and cultural heritage. These gatherings serve as a reminder of the region's rich history and the resilience of its people. The tradition of gathering on Wednesday and Saturday nights in Bangka Belitung Islands holds deep cultural and historical significance. Stemming from the era of tin mining, this practice has transcended time, becoming an integral part of the local community's social fabric. The tradition's enduring presence showcases the region's cultural resilience and serves as a reminder of the shared heritage of its people.


Dixon, S. (2012). Roman Civilization: The Roman Empire and Its Influence. Wiley- Blackwell.

Ricklefs, M.C. (2008). A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1200 (4th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Sutherland, H. (2019). Indonesia's Revolution: The Political Culture of the New Order and Beyond. Cambridge University Press.

Ni'mah, L. (2017). Cultural Diversity of Indonesian Society. Aksara Timur. Setiawan, B., & Farhan, R. (2021). Diversity of Indonesian Cultures. Mediakita.


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