Kartini Day

Kartini Day

April 21
Kartini Day is an Indonesian holiday commemorating the birth in 1879 of Raden Ajeng Kartini, one of the country's national heroes and a pioneer in the emancipation of Indonesian women. Throughout Indonesia women wear their national dress to symbolize their unity, and the nation enjoys parades, lectures, and various school activities.
Lady Kartini, the daughter of a Javanese nobleman who worked for the Dutch colonial administration, was exposed to Western ideas when she attended a Dutch school. When she had to withdraw from school because she was of noble birth, she corresponded with Dutch friends telling of her concern both for the plight of Indonesians under colonial rule and for the restricted lives of Indonesian women. She married in 1903 and began a fight for the right of women to be educated and against the unwritten but all-pervading Javanese law, Adat .
She died in 1904 at the age of 25, after the birth of her first child. Her letters were published in 1911 under the title, Door duisternis tot licht ("Through Darkness into Light"), and created support for the Kartini Foundation, which opened the first girls' school in Java in 1916.
CONTACTS:
Indonesian Embassy
2020 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-775-5200; fax: 202-775-5365
www.embassyofindonesia.org
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 21