With a 3-million Chinese Indonesian community, Imlek, as the festival is locally known, is also widely celebrated throughout the archipelago and the day is declared a public holiday. Undoubtedly, the most important part of the celebrations are the family gatherings. Relatives reunite, enjoying a festive meal, mostly composed of traditional Chinese and local Indonesian cuisine. Monetary gifts are shared, packed in traditional red envelopes – a color that is meant to symbolize the fortune of the New Year and ward off evil spirits. Multiple events take place in the public spaces too, with the most buzzing ones in Jakarta’s Chinatown. The area is filled with decorative lanterns, banners, lamps and children’s clothing for sale – all in mandatory red, of course. Starting on the new moon, the celebrations last for the consecutive 15 days.
The upcoming year will be 4714th, according to the Chinese calendar. As each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign – this one will be the year of the Monkey. Let’s get it started!