Saturday, February 6, 2010

Semarang gears up for Chinese New Year

The Chinese community in Semarang is set to revive the Gang Baru traditional market in the West Java capital's Chinatown for the upcoming Imlek (Chinese New Year) celebrations, which fall on Feb. 14 this year.

The head of Semarang Chinese Community for Tourism, Haryanto Halim, told The Jakarta Post that the efforts were part of the move to revitalize the city's Chinatown.

The traditional market is presently experiencing a lull in business.

In the process, he said the community would set up paper lanterns along the market and approach traders and residents affected by the plan.

Out of Semarang's 1.4 million residents, around 225,000 are Chinese Indonesians. The revival of the traditional market is hoped to boost the local economy as well as the city's tourism.

The community will also hold the Imlek Semawis Market, a night market offering a variety of merchandise and entertainment, from culinary delights to cultural performances.

Unlike in the past seven years, this time the night market, scheduled to run from Feb. 10 to 14, will travel between several places, from Jl. Gang Warung to around Tay Kak Sie temple complex in Gang Lombok and Rasa Dharma building in Gang Pinggir.

The community will also pay tribute to the late Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, who was named the Father of Indonesian Chinese people in 2006 in Semarang.

"We will also hold a talk show on *Gus Dur*," Haryanto said, referring to the former president, who passed away on Dec. 30 last year.

Chinese Indonesians have only been able to freely celebrate their New Year for around 10 years.

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