How Indonesia’s ‘minority within a minority’ celebrate Lunar New Year

Ngoc Diep
Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - Having breakfast together with 7 different kinds of vegetables on the first day of the lunar New Year is one of many traditions kept alive for many generations in Meidyana Rayana’s family, who are of Chinese descendants living in Indonesia. In today’s show, Meidyana Rayana from Jarkata, Indonesia, will share with us how Chinese Indonesian celebrate the lunar New Year, known locally as Imlek.

How Indonesia’s ‘minority within a minority’ celebrate Lunar New Year  - ảnh 1Meidyana Rayana with her mother and siblings on the 1st day of the new lunar year of 2021 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Ngoc Diep:
Hello Mei, Welcome to VOV. Please introduce a bit about yourself so our listeners will get to know you.

Meidyana Rayana: Thank you for inviting me. I’m Meidyana Rayana from Indonesia. I’m a Chinese descendant born and raised in Indonesia and currently living in Indonesia.

Ngoc Diep: The lunar New Year is coming in a few days and this is the biggest festival of the year for the peoples in some Asian countries. Do you and your family celebrate this event and do all family gather to mark this occasion when living in Indonesia?

Meidyana Rayana:  Yes we do. I’m the fourth generation now, here in Indonesia. `And we still do celebrate the lunar new year and we’re still kind of trying the preserve the traditions of our previous generations.

Ngoc Diep: How do you prepare for the lunar New Year?

Meidyana Rayana: For our family our tradition is to first cut our hair and have a new clothes and usually it’s red cause it symbolizes happiness and luck and why do we cut our hair it’s because to throw away bad luck and pray for a new fresh start for the new year. We usually a some decorations at home but just like properly just lanterns and something red colour in our house.

How Indonesia’s ‘minority within a minority’ celebrate Lunar New Year  - ảnh 2A common Chinese food in Indonesia is Kue basket or bascet cakes. Photo:

Ngoc Diep: Do you prepare any special dishes for the New Year party?

We usually still have the New Year’s Eve dinner together and then we would have breakfast morning together with the whole family. We would have 7 kinds of vegetables that are traditional cause our grandparents they are from Gwangzhou China so their tradition is to have vegetable in the morning and one vegetable is called Fat Choi, According to my grandmother it means Prosperity. When we have that vegetable we say Gong xi Fat Choi.

Ngoc Diep: What about the gift giving tradition? D you still practice that tradition today?

Meidyana Rayana: For us, usually the parents or those who are already get married to give money to the children. For me because I’m not married yet so I still receive the money, I can’t give money yet.

Ngoc Diep: What do you do on the New Year’s Eve?

Meidyana Rayana: For the New Year’s Eve we usually have dinner together, either outside at a restaurant or in our house. If we have dinner at our house, my mum will cook and other relatives will come and bring another food also. We would just like chill and hang out the whole night and the children usually play some games and do fireworks outside in the garden so basically it’s really a family time for us and we don’t really spend time until really late at night because our tradition is to wake up early in the morning for breakfast together.

How Indonesia’s ‘minority within a minority’ celebrate Lunar New Year  - ảnh 3Barongsai dance at Indonesia's plaza. Photo:

Ngoc Diep: What else do Indonesian of Chinese decent do to celebrate the lunar New Year in Indonesia?

Meidyana Rayana: We also have that lion dance the Barongsai dance. We can see it nowadays at the mall. Usually each mall they’ll have their own new year’s festival so they will have stage and some Chinese performances like the traditional music, songs, and the Barongsai dance. So it’s quite big also. At all malls we can see all these decorations and all the performances of the lunar New Year’s festival.

Ngoc Diep: Thank you so much for sharing with us some Indonesia’s lovely traditions during the lunar new year festival. We wish you and your family all the very best in the new year.