Ethnic Chinese communities throughout Indonesia celebrated Chinese New Year on Sunday by visiting temples for praying to their ancestors and gods.
In Jakarta, Dharma Bhakti, Sam Njan Kiong and Amorva Bumi, temples were filled with visitors celebrating the Chinese New Year, which is known locally as 'Imlek' in Indonesia.
The ethnic Chinese, who make up around 5 percent of Indonesia's 225 million population, usually burn incense and pray for luck and happiness in the coming year in the temples.
Beginning in 2002, Chinese New Year became a national holiday, to the pleasure of more than 10 million Chinese Indonesians.
In Jakarta's Glodok China town, which is usually crowded, the traffic was very smooth as most shop owners closed their shops during the holidays of New Year.
Chinese new year is the longest holiday in the Chinese calendar. The celebrations in Indonesia incorporate customs, beliefs and practices brought to Indonesia by Chinese immigrants. Many ethnic Chinese in Indonesia celebrate the holiday with red decorations on their homes.
In the Amorva Bumi temple located in South Jakarta, the number of visitors decreased than that of last year's because the temple was flooded following downpours Saturday, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.
"Despite the flood, however, some visitors came to pray. But, the number of the visitors was less than that of last year," Hong We, a founder of the Amorva Bumi temple was quoted as saying.
Indonesia's ethnic Chinese communities in other cities especially in Medan (North Sumatra), Surabaya (East Java), Batam ( Riau, Sumatra), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Balikpapan (East Kalimantan) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan), also observed the Chinese New Year smoothly and peacefully on Sunday, local press reported.