Celebrating Bloomsday 2021


The Embassy of Ireland in Indonesia launched a celebration that takes place both in Dublin and around the world to mark June 16, 1904, which is the day depicted in James Joyce’s famous novel, Ulysses. The celebration is called ‘Bloomsday’. 

“Bloomsday is a day on which we recognize one of Ireland’s most famous authors, James Joyce. Joyce is celebrated across the world for his enormous contribution to modern literature. Irish people are very proud of Joyce and of our other literary stars such as Edna O’Brien, Oscar Wilde, Sally Rooney, John McGahern, and George Bernard Shaw. While Bloomsday is not a public holiday, many take the day off from work to join the festivities,” said Ms  Olivia Leslie, the Ambassador of Ireland in Indonesia. 

Ms Olivia Leslie also explained that the celebration is such a festive celebration and it could take up to the next day. “Bloomsday celebrates Thursday,  June 16, 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters–real and fictional–from 8 AM on June 16, 1904 through to the early hours of the following morning," she said. 

Many events to mark Bloomsday will take place online this year and can be found at this link–Bloomsday Festival. Before the pandemic, celebrations of Bloomsday in Ireland often included dressing up as characters from the book and visiting the places in Dublin which feature in the book. One of the hallmark fancy dress items of Bloomsday is the straw boater hat, and you will see many participants wearing these. A traditional Bloomsday breakfast of fried kidneys is often part of proceedings as well! 

"Readings and performances usually take place at cultural venues around Ireland and overseas and there are Bloomsday festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe,” she added. 

Unfortunately, we are still not able to go to Ireland easily as COVID-19 is still contagious. Therefore, you could enjoy the celebration in Jakarta. The Embassy is taking part in a global book giveaway, which will see more than 5,000 copies of  Joyce’s works distributed in over 100 cities. 

Photo Courtesy of Ambassador of Ireland in Indonesia

James Joyce is famous the world over and his texts have been translated into many languages including Bahasa Indonesia. Joyce’s most celebrated texts will be winging their way to cafes, charities, universities, and libraries all over Indonesia on this Bloomsday (  June 16). In addition, Embassy Jakarta has collaborated with Bookhive Jakarta to donate not just texts by  Joyce, but a range of Irish books, from authors like Sally Rooney, Marian Keyes, and Jonathan Swift. 

The Embassy is also pleased to announce that Grand Indonesia Mall is currently hosting an interactive  Bloomsday exhibit, bringing Joyce’s Dublin of 1904 to life. The installation will be in place from June 15-20 and will be a recreation of Sweny’s Pharmacy from Episode 5 of Ulysses. 

By following the QR  code on the exhibit, audiences will be able to access information on Joyce and other recordings celebrating his work. The installation will move to Dia.lo.gue art space in Kemang from  June 22 to July 20, where Gilsenan’s Ulysses Film will also be on display, thanks to the Museum of Literature Ireland. The embassy is also going to hold a competition and giveaways. Would you like to participate in this celebration?

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