A worshiper cleans a statue at Armurva Bhumi Temple (Hok Tek Tjeng Sin) in Karet Semanggi, South Jakarta, on Feb, 4, 2021 in preparation for the Chinese New Year. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Deep Temple Cleaning Before Lunar New Year
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
FEBRUARY 05, 2021
Jakarta. Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in 2021 will be very different from previous years. Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, has asked that celebrations of the Year of the Ox be held simply, with online gathering activities instead of events such as the traditional lion dance festival. This is due to the high number of Covid-19 transmissions in the country.
Many Indonesians, however, are still managing to maintain important Chinese Lunar New Year traditions. Worshipers at Armurva Bhumi Temple (Hok Tek Tjeng Sin) in Karet Semanggi, South Jakarta, started to prepare for the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 4th, 2021. At the temple they have been cleaning statues and prayer corners to welcome in the Year of the Ox. In Chinese tradition, cleaning out any dust or dirt, and discarding old things, means getting rid of bad habits and bad luck.
Worshipers have been gathering in Armurva Bhumi Temple since Thursday morning. Once there they clean every corner of the space. They wash statues of gods one-by-one with soap and flower water, scrub dust and ash off every wall and pillar with detergent, and decorate the temple with lanterns. In addition to this, they also prepare sparrows, worship papers, candles, and incense.
The size of the ethnic Chinese population in Indonesia was found to be around 2.83 million in a 2010 census. In comparison with a 2000 survey, this showed a growth of over 400,000 people, making the ethnic Chinese the 15th biggest group out of 145 different ethnic groups in Indonesia.
For a long time, the Lunar New Year was not celebrated -- at least publicly -- in Indonesia due to the anti-Communist and anti-Chinese, attitude of the Soeharto regime. The ban on celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year publicly was changed by President Adurrahman in 2001, when he made it an optional holiday. However, ‘Imlek’ has been a national holiday ever since 2003, thanks to President Megawati Soekarnoputri.