Chinese people around the world are celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year. And the festive mood has not only created a lively atmosphere in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, it has also been translated into good businesses.
Welcoming the year of the Horse, the capital has turned auspiciously red.
Here at the center of Chinatown in the capital Jakarta the mood is festive.
With the whole street is packed with visitors from around Indonesia and beyond from last minute shopping, hunting for pictures or just soaking in the atmosphere.
Seasonal sellers also come for the festivities, with their semi permanent shops, they sell all sorts of Chinese new year ornaments, from red envelopes, dragon ornaments, moon cakes, flowers and a make a wish birds.
And this festive mood translate to good business for these sellers, with some reporting almost a 40% bump in sales.
The centrepiece of the celebrating though is this. The oldest Chinese temple in Indonesia, built way back in the 1600’s. Thousands of people visited this temple every year. Not just Jakarta’s but also from outside of the island of Java.
Some of them even travel up to a week just to get here, but they don’t mind as for most of them visiting this particular temple is a family tradition here, they pray to the gods for good fortune and health in the new year give out offering to their departed loved ones and releasing birds for the gods to grant their wish.
And that’s not all, in this 3000 meter square temple aside from the thousands of visitors that come and go, this is also the place to be for these people. Thousands and thousands of beggars waiting for the donation from the temple goers.
But this is not just simply a handout ground. According to the temple caretaker, this act of charity has helped in integrating the Chinese Indonesian into the community sharing the wealth has played a role in extending the joy and the festivities of the new year beyond the Chinese community
The scenes here can’t be more different than just fifteen years ago. These kinds of public celebration are only allowed after the reform era. In just over a decade, the new found freedom has become a reason for joy for everyone here.
The picture here represents the change in Chinese culture in Indonesia from exclusion to celebration of diversity so everyone here is eagerly to say Gong xi and hopefully get that big fat red envelope.