UNAIR NEWS – Chinese New Year or Sin Cia si not only related to ang pao or the lion dance. It is also a celebration to welcome the spring season which is believed by Chinese people to bring happiness to all mankind. It brings new life, the symbol of growth, hopes and wish in life.
Chinese New Year is also a moment of family reunion once a year, to strengthen ties and share stories. It is important as every member of families and neighbors show their loves and start everything anew. It is summarized from UNAIR NEWs interview with Sintha Devi Ika Santhi Rahayu, S.S., M.A., a lecturer of UNAIR Historical Studies who focuses on Chinese history.
Sintha explained about the Chinese wish expressed in the celebration. She said that the Chinese people who still uphold the traditions will make the New Year celebration as a routine of long history and symbol of new hopes in life.
“Imlek celebration has been around and become traditions of Chinese people from thousand years ago, and the Chinese have been around in Indonesia since before the Dutch coming,” said Shinta.
“Imlek celebration changes from time to time, depends on the organizers or people who celebrate it and also the government policy. This celebration has also been banned by the New Order, “ she added.
Shinta also talked about special things in Chinese New Year celebration related to rituals, challenges and also complementary symbols. Talking about rituals, it is identical with red colors such as red houses, red lanterns, red envelopes red cakes and also red clothes. It means that the Chinese people wish a happy and prosperous life.
Then, other ritual such as wearing new clothes means starting anew, serving various sweet and sticky cakes means a wish to be avoided from the bad things in life.
“There are many rituals organized to make those wishes come true, from their own houses to the main event on the fifth night or known as Cap Go Meh,” explained Shinta, alumnus of Historical Studies UNAIR.
Beside rituals there are also prohibitions, such as for the single people cannot give angpao, do not cut when eating noodles or eating fish backwards. They are related to their wish to find their mates in life, long life and also avoid bad things in life.
“The taboos during Imlek celebration have been known by people, such as giving angpao for the singles,” said Shinta.
There are other things to complete the celebration, shio and lion dance. “This year is fire chicken year which means honest, energetic, smart, flexible and confident personality. So the Chinese people hope this year to be better than 2016,” she said.
“The lion dance is identical with heaven’s entity, Lion is believed to be able to keep bad things, bad spirits away,” she said.
Author: Ahmad Janni
Editor: Nuri Hermawan
This post is also available in: Indonesian