New Year is the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign. Celebrated by millions of Chinese Indonesians this holiday brings lots of color and joy. Chinese Lunar New Year in Indonesia is the first day of the year. This holiday occurs on the first day of the year on the Chinese calendar. This day is also known as the Spring festival. How to celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Indonesia?
New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve family members gather to observe the customs and share a traditional meal. Family members come from across town or across the Indonesian archipelago to welcome in the New Year together, usually at the home of the eldest family member.
According to custom, the male head of the family leads the family in making offerings to various house gods and family ancestors. Respect is paid to the god of wealth and the gods of the well, bed, hearth and other gods who the family wants to remain on good terms with. The offerings are usually a variety of foods, cakes and fruits placed on an offering table, placed outside the house. While holding the incense in both hands, each family member would ‘pai-pai’ (bow down) three times to show respect and honor for the house gods. Then the incense is placed in a holder on the offering table and family members bow again to show respect and ask permission to enter the house.
An offering table or ancestral table is also set up inside the house, if there is a member of An ancestral table with incense burning, found in a Chinese homethe family who has already passed away. A picture of the deceased is hung above the table. In wealthier family’s homes an entire room might be used as an ancestral hall complete with altar and tables for each generation. Small offerings are placed throughout the year to honor deceased family members. On New Year’s Day, however, the table overflows with a beautiful display of food, flowers and the special dishes once enjoyed by the deceased during his/her life.
Family members are expected to show respect to their ancestors by lighting incense and bowing in front of the offering table. It is even more respectful if one kneels down in front of the table. Only after respect has been paid to the ancestors can you continue with the evening’s festivities. Chinese around the world believe that the spirits of the loved ones are in attendance during the evening’s celebrations. When ancestor worship rites are complete, the family gathers for the biggest meal of the year.
A long time ago an emperor, named Shen, wanted his people to worship heaven and earth. That day was known as the first day of the first lunar month. In 1911 the Chinese started to use the Gregorian calendar and named Chinese New Years the Spring Festival.
How to celebrate in Indonesia?
People will celebrate by attending parades and dragon dances in various communities. People hope to attract prosperity and good fortune in the New Year. Many will spend time with family and friends. Chinese New Year is not an official national holiday, so government and businesses will be open. Indonesia has millions of ethnic Chinese citizens so Chinese New Year’s celebrations called Imlek are a national holiday, though they are still unofficial. Pontianak, Medan, and Jakarta have large Chinese communities that celebrate the Lunar New year on a large scale with tons of red decorations on homes and firecrackers. Temples become crowded with people making offerings. The oldest Chinese temple in Jakarta, Wihara Dharma Bhakti is located on Petak Sembilan in the Kota district, Jakarta’s Chinatown. Large temple celebrations also occur in Mangga Besar, Pluit, and in the Boen Tek Nio Temple in Tangerang.
Is Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day a Public Holiday?
Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. In 2020 it falls on a суббота. Due to this, some businesses may choose to follow суббота opening hours.
Preparations for Chinese New Year 2020
Preparations for Chinese New Year festivities in Indonesia begin well in advance of the actual date. As the year draws to a close, ethnic-Chinese tie up loose ends and put things in order in anticipation of beginning the New Year with a fresh start and a clean slate. Business people balance their books and collect or pay debts that are owed.
Those who cannot afford to pay off their debts spend the pre-New Year season evading Jakarta malls offer photos in traditional Chinese clothing during the holiday seasoncreditors, hiding in temples or hidden in their homes. In ancient China, debt collectors would seek out debtors using a lantern up until the midnight hour. It is considered vulgar to mention debts on Chinese New Year’s so these matters have to be settled prior to the holiday. If unfinished business can be resolved before the coming of the New Year, then one is left with a bright and optimistic start for the coming year.
In some very superstitious families it is believed that sweeping is allowed on the second day of the New Year, however the sweeping of the dust must be done towards the center of the room. Then, the collected dust must be put into the corners of the room and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day of the New Year when it can be thrown away via the back door. If the dirt is discarded in this way, no harm will befall the family. At no time should this dust be trampled on, as it will cause bad luck. It is thought that if you sweep dirt over the threshold you will also sweep one of the family members away.
An important part of the preparations for the holiday is the thorough cleaning of the family home. This is important not only as preparation for the many guests who are expected during the holidays, but also because it is symbolic of sweeping away the evil sprits thatPaper decorations with traditional greetings are used to decorate the house might be lurking in dark corners or behind heavy pieces of furniture that are rarely moved. The windows are washed and repainting is done and in traditional homes they would paint the window frames and doors red to prevent evil sprits from entering and to bring good fortune to the inhabitants.
Shopping is a major part of the pre-celebration preparations. Historically, New Year’s Day was one of a few days in the year when the hard working Chinese peasants allowed themselves a day of rest. Since it was everybody’s day of rest, including the shop owners, all shopping had to be done prior to New Year’s Eve. In Indonesia, most shop owners observe the Chinese New Year by closing their shop for 3 or 5 days. The normally vibrant Chinese business districts in cities across Indonesia become quiet, with shuttered shops the norm. Shop owners would never close for 4 days as this number, when verbalized, sounds like the Chinese word for death, therefore bringing their business bad luck.
All cleaning and sweeping must be completed before New Year’s Day, with the brooms and brushes out of the house prior to the dawn of the New Year. Otherwise the family believes they will have bad luck and a year of work and drudgery. Sweeping cannot be done on New Year’s Day for fear that good fortune would be swept away.
Public Barongsai or the Lion Dance is not typical for Indonesia. Lion and dragon dance performers are usually called to private parties or homes. Barongsai dancers arrive in groups of 10 people with drummers and orchestra. Some shopping malls in Jakarta also feature lion dance performances. Traditional foods of Chinese families in Indonesia include whole fish, oysters, shrimp. Indonesian Chinese originating from Shanghai prefer egg skin dumplings and bean sprouts. Other delicacies include ‘Zong zi’—glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves and candied melon.
Indonesia is a nation with a reputation for diversity. While the majority of the Indonesian population is consisted of non-Chinese Muslims, Chinese New Year is a significant event in Indonesia. Prior to the Chinese New Year celebrations, many markets near large Chinese communities in Indonesia will open. These markets often sell fireworks, clothing, toys, and gifts. It is a common practice for Chinese people to give their friends and family members gifts during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Chinese New Year 2020 in Indonesia traditions
One of the most popular Chinese New Year traditions is the gifting of red envelopes. In most situations, these red envelopes are gifted to children from elderly people. It is also common for married couples to give red envelopes to unmarried members of their family. These red envelopes often contain money. The amount of money in an envelope is often a number that denotes good luck.
On Chinese New Year eve, every member of a Chinese family will reunite with each other in a central location. Once every family member is a present, a large meal will be enjoyed. A combination of traditional Chinese food and local Indonesian food are often enjoyed by people celebrating the Chinese New Year in Indonesia.
More food is consumed by Indonesian Chinese families during the New Year celebration than at any other holiday. As it is considered bad luck to cook on New Year’s Day itself, food is prepared the day before. Chinese believe that what you do on New Year’s Day will reflect on your life in the coming year, so most housewives do not want to take a chance of being ‘chained to the oven’. The large number of traditional dishes prepared is also meant to symbolize abundance and wealth for the household.
Most traditional dishes served on Chinese New Year are chosen for the significance of their name or appearance. One required dish is a whole fish. Fish in Chinese is ‘yu’ which sounds similar to the word meaning surplus or abundance. A whole fish must be served as this represents family togetherness. Oysters are also a favorite. In Cantonese the word oyster sounds like the word that means ‘good business.’ In Cantonese shrimp is pronounced ‘ha’, which to the Chinese sounds like laughter so it also often included. Clams are another favorite, as they open up when cooked, symbolizing the opening of new horizons.
The Lion Dance
Barongsai may be commonplace on New Year’s Day in other Asian counties, but they are normally called to private homes or private parties for viewing in Indonesia. Barongsai is a large dragon-like puppet measuring between four to six meters that is manned by three or A visit from a Barongsai is a sign of good luckfour dancers. The dancer that controls the head of the Barongsai must be well versed in Kung Fu as many of the steps in the dance resemble Kung Fu movements. Performers must have great strength and endurance when using the larger dragons as they can weigh up to several hundred kilograms.
A Barongsai troop, consisting of at least 10 people, will arrive in a truck and the accompanying orchestra can be heard long before the arrival. Drums, bells and symbols provide music for the dance. Families are happy to be visited by Barongsai because they feel it will bring them good luck. At the completion of the dance the spectators place ang pau in the mouth of the Barongsai in appreciation for the performance. Depending on the organization backing the troop, most of the money collected is used for social work. With increasing freedom to celebrate their traditional customs, Indonesian Chinese can now even find special promotions in some Jakarta shopping malls during the Chinese New Year season which may include a barongsai performance.