Chinese-Indonesian community celebrate Lunar New Year

10:53, February 15, 2010      

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Chinese-Indonesian community in Indonesia on Sunday celebrated the Chinese New Year or Imlek in the whole country by joining religious rituals, praying in temples or meeting together by opening houses.

In Jakarta, besides most of people holding family celebration in their homes or hotels, thousands of people flocked to temples in the city, praying for a happy and prosperous new year in 2010.

The large crowd at the temples attracted the attention of local people with many motorists slowing down the vehicles to catch the glances of the procession, which has been held every year.

Meanwhile, the visitors of the temple were seen distributing snacks and 'angpao' (envelops containing money) to the needy.

Some rich persons of the Chinese-Indonesians held celebrations in their residences which also attracted many friends and neighbors.

Such activities were also held in other cities in Indonesia, local press reported. In Aceh province, about 2,000 Chinese people and other Buddha followers joined the Imlek ritual in the provincial city of Banda Aceh, Head of the Dharma Bhakti Temple Foundation Yuswar was quoted as saying.

"The Imlek celebration is intended to strengthen brotherhood and pray for Aceh to remain conducive and enable it to maintain security," Yuswar said.

He said that at the Imlek celebration, the Chinese in Aceh pray for improvement in the economic condition in the country and at the same time pray for Indonesia to be able to come out of any difficulties.

"We urge the Chinese descendants in Aceh to maintain and improve unity and respect others so that they can live peacefully among the heterogeneous community," he said.

Reports said hundreds of people packed a number of temples in Pangkalpinang in Bangka Belitung province on the eve of Chinese New Year on Saturday.

The Chinese-Indonesian community began to stream into Maitreya, Sukawati, Kumala Bodi and Kwan Tie Miau temples in the afternoon, Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

The Chinese community held a mass prayer and watched art performances during the New Year celebration. A dance performance and a stage show will mark the turn of the year at midnight, Maitreya temple worker Muk Fa was quoted as saying.

Maitreya is the biggest Buddhist temple in Pangkalpinang, while Kwan Tie Miau is the largest Chinese temple.

Kwan Tie Meau temple keeper Aihun said a lion dance performance and a fire cracker show were held to mark the Chinese New Year in the place of worship.

Meanwhile, Chinese Indonesians in Cirebon, West Java prayed at temples, watched lion dances, and lit fireworks as they celebrated Chinese New Year on Sunday.

The celebration kicked off at 10.00 p.m. on Saturday with people of Chinese descents streaming to temples and donating money to poor people before midnight, the revelers lit 200 candles in Dewi Welas Asih temple and another 100 candles in Talang temple. They prayed for a better future, Kompas.com reported.

A lion dance was then performed, and 800 fireworks were lit to ward off bad luck.

Source: Xinhua
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