The Challenges of Celebrating Eid Abroad by Syarif Zapata

Celebrating Eid at the Indonesian Embassy to sending THR across the country

The amount of money circulated on Eid al-Fitr in 2023 is estimated to reach IDR 8,500 Trillion. This amount of money circulation does not include cross-border money transactions, where there are more than 72 thousand Indonesian cross-border workers around the world. Many of these cross-border workers are celebrating Eid abroad which can be challenging for those who do not know how to prepare for this day, including public figure Syarif Zapata

Having celebrated Eid annually overseas in countries like Switzerland and Germany since 2007, Syarif Zapata is a famous YouTuber who often shares information about Indonesian life in Europe, as well as travel and lifestyle tips. He is also the owner of the Guide Santai app, a guide for travelers.

For Muslims who live overseas like Syarif, celebrating Eid abroad is never easy and their Eid experiences differ from country to country. Here are three biggest challenges from Syarif: 

1. Finding Indonesian Eid traditions overseas

When we live abroad, one of the things that is hard to find is authentic Indonesian food and the atmosphere of Eid itself. We can overcome this by visiting The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia (KBRI) which generally provides Indonesian food and Halal Bihalal events on Eid day which are open to the public and free of charge. So, besides being able to get Eid food for free, we can also feel the warm atmosphere of what Eid is like in Indonesia. 

When asked about his experience celebrating Eid abroad, Syarif said: “It's very different. If you don't have Muslim friends or communities in a foreign country, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr will feel like a normal day. In Switzerland especially, we don't hear people reciting the Quran during Ramadan and we rarely see Ramadan or Eid attributes on the streets. Sometimes I really miss the atmosphere of Ramadan in Indonesia, that’s why visiting KBRI definitely makes a difference.”

2. Paying zakat in a timely manner

Paying zakat fitrah every Eid is an obligation for Muslims who are able to. For Syarif, who currently lives in Switzerland, he continues to pay his zakat in Indonesia as part of the Ramadan tradition. The key to fulfill this obligation is to calculate and pay zakat correctly and on time, however for many Indonesians staying abroad, this might be challenging due to slow transfers, lack of transparency and the hassle of having to travel to a physical branch and wait in long queues during banking hours.  

3. Sending THR money transfers abroad at the lowest rates 

Even though he is living abroad, Syarif does not forget to send the Tunjangan Hari Raya (THR) to his family in Indonesia during Ramadan. To send THR to his family in Indonesia, Syarif relies on Wise, to ensure that THR reaches his family quickly,and at a low-cost rate.

"Before using Wise, I was often confused about how much THR my family received and why I only got less than what I paid, not to mention the complicated interface system. Whereas Wise has a very easy-to-use user interface. With Wise, I feel more comfortable now because it shows exactly how much I am sending in Swiss Franc, to when and how much my family receives in Indonesian Rupiah. It also shows upfront the transfer fee and exchange rate on the app, making it easy to calculate. Apart from THR money transfers, I also send money back home on a regular basis, so it is important for me to choose a convenient, low-cost and fuss-free platform to send money efficiently," Syarif said. 

According to Wise, more than £180 billion is lost globally every year in remittance transactions through hidden fees. With Wise, customers pay a single upfront fee and the exchange rate they see on the app is the one they see on Google or Reuters, with no hidden charges. 

Additional information: 

This release was written in collaboration between Wise and Syarif Zapata. All opinions about Wise expressed by Syarif are based on his experience after using Wise since 2018.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move and manage the world’s money.

With Wise Account and Wise Business, people and businesses can hold over 40 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new network for the world’s money. Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable tech companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

10 million people and businesses use Wise. In fiscal year 2023, Wise processed approximately £105 billion in cross-border transactions, saving customers around £1.5 billion.

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