As the year of the Golden Rabbit, or 2562 in the Chinese calendar, comes to a close, lanterns and many other colorful ornaments begin to gaily decorate several parts of Indonesia, with celebrations prepared in major cities to welcome the coming of the Year of the Water Dragon 2563, which falls on January 23, 2012.
In the sprawling capital city of Jakarta, many major shopping malls have already brought the “imlek” (Chinese New Year celebration) atmosphere to buildings, dominated by the color of red, with all required accessories, Bazaars, art performances, and other activities also highlight this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations. At Mal Ciputra, various events are featured from January 11 to February 5, 2012, bearing the theme, “The Art of Dragon Year,” presenting Chinese Classical Opera, Lion and Dragon Dances, Wushu, and other performances. One of its special features is the mass Chio Tau traditional Chinese wedding where on February 5, 25 couples will be married in the ancient Chinese tradition.
Located right in the heart of Jakarta, Grand Indonesia takes on the theme, Dragon Spring Festival, which uniquely combines the festivity of the year of the Water Dragon with warm nuances of the coming spring. Kung Fu Panda Meet and Greet, Steel Pole Barongsai Show by Kun Seng Keng, The Romance of Dragon Warrior Musical Show, Red in Fashion Show, Face Reading talk show by Erwin Yap, and the launching of the Dragon stamp from the Postal Office, are some of the highlights at Grand Indonesia.
At the Kelapa Gading center, which is the cluster of La Piazza, Gading Food City, and Mal Kelapa Gading, this year the celebrations take the theme, “Dragonly Yours.” The festivity will be highlighted with dance performances in bubbles called “spherical emotions;” the dance of the 1,000 hands; the happy days dance; Chinese ribbon silk dance; and many others.
At the Jaya Ancol Dreamland Recreation Park along the coast, Dragon boat festivals, and Dragon and Lion Dance performances will liven up Chinese New Year Celebration from January 22-29. For a full week, a parade of Dragon boats will be held at the Jakarta Bay using the concept of a boat race. The Lion and Dragon Dances attractions will also take place from the Marina all the way to the Pantai Indah Pier.
In Bekasi, just on the outskirts of Jakarta, New Year rites and celebrations will be centered at the 200-year-old Hok Lay Kiong Temple. There are already at least 500 lanterns decorating the main temple and the 4 viharas under the management of Pancaran Tri Dharma. The rites and celebrations themselves are expected to be attended by no less than 3,000 people.
In Bandung, hotels and malls are also geared up for the turn of the Chinese Year. The Festival Citylink Mall presents the China Town Food Festival, where visitors can enjoy a spread of distinct Chinese cuisines and a number of Chinese handicrafts from January 13 to February 5, 2012. A firework fiesta is also scheduled on January 24, 2012. At the Grand Royal Panghegar Hotel, guests were entertained with Lion Dance performances on the eve of January 23, right at the turn of the year.
Meanwhile, on the fabled island of Bali, the symbolic Lion and Dragon dance transformed the streets and areas around Kuta Beach into a huge performing stage, on Sunday, January 22 evening. The procession passed around the Vihara Dharmayana and through major streets in the Kuta area.
In Singkawang, West Kalimantan, hotels are reportedly fully booked by tourists who have made their reservation as early as 4 months earlier. Chinese New Year celebrations in Singkawang are always commemorated with the grand festivities. The parade of the amazing Tatung presenting the exceptional abilities of the human body to withstand pain always fascinates spectators.
In Semarang, Central Java, the Tay Kak Sie Temple, which holds the replica of Admiral Cheng Ho’s ship, is preparing to welcome guests and congregations who will conduct the New Year rituals and celebration. The temple, built in 1746, is one of the oldest Chinese temples in the country, and is always filled with devotees at every Chinese New Year celebration.
Festivals, bazaars, and other events to welcome the year of the Water Dragon will also be held in other cities such as: Surabaya, Palembang, Medan, Sukabumi, and many others. Festivities over the Chinese New Year will soon be followed by the grand celebrations at Cap Go Meh, held 15 days after the turn of the year.