Imlek in Indonesia in 2020

Imlek in Indonesia in 2020
  How long until Imlek?
This holiday next takes place in 68 days.
  Dates of Imlek in Indonesia
2021 Indonesia Fri, Feb 12 National Holiday
2020 Indonesia Sat, Jan 25 National Holiday
2019 Indonesia Tue, Feb 5 National Holiday
2018 Indonesia Fri, Feb 16 National Holiday
2017 Indonesia Sat, Jan 28 National Holiday
  Summary
Chinese New Year 2018 is the year of the brown earth dog
  Local name
Imlek
  Imlek in other countries
Imlek internationally

Imlek in Indonesia

In 2001, President Abdurrahman Wahid made Chinese New Year an optional holiday. He also lifted a ban on the display of Chinese characters and the import of Chinese publications. In 2002, President Megawati Soekarnoputri declared Chinese New Year as a national holiday starting from 2003.

In Indonesia, Chinese New Year is known as 'Imlek' and has become a popular holiday celebrated by all Indonesians, not just the estimated 2.8 million Indonesians of Chinese descent.

Previously, under President Soeharto’s New Order regime, Chinese New Year was banned from being celebrated openly. The New Order regime had an anti-communist stance and anything that had to do with China and its culture was considered dangerous to the nationhood.

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is a public holiday in several countries in East Asia.

Chinese Lunar Year begins at sunset on the day of the second New Moon following the winter solstice (21st December). This means the New Year can begin anytime from 21st January through to 21st February.

Chinese New Year Animal Signs

Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. 2019 will be the year of the Earth Pig. The Pig is a symbol of diligence, compassion, and generosity in China.

Year Date Animal
2021 February 12 Ox
2020 January 25 Rat
2019 February 5 Boar
2018 February 16 Dog
2017 January 28 Rooster
Full list of Years and Animals

Traditions of Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year has a great history. In other traditions, by this time in the year, most resolutions have been forgotten or put back to the following year. However, all hope is not lost, as there's a second chance to get it right with the celebration of Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself ancient and obscured by the amount of time. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days. The public holidays last about a week and stores and places of business usually reopen on the fifth day of the first lunar month.

Preparations begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red.

Chinese New Year's Eve

The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing.

Rituals include cleaning the house, putting up new posters of "door gods" on front doors, fireworks before the family union dinner, which should be at least 10-course meal with a whole fish entrée symbolizing the abundance of the coming year.

It's usual to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil spirits - but black and white are out, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, the family sits up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programmes dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks.

During the Spring Festival season, a 40-day period known as "Chunyun" that begins 15 days before Chinese New Year, sees masses of Chinese people travel back from the cities to their home towns to be with their families. This results in the world’s largest annual human migration.

Chinese New Year's Day

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. It is also common for couples to give money to their parents.

In recent years, the custom has embraced modern technology and in 2017, 14.2 billion e-hongbaos (digital red packets) were sent on Chinese New Year's Eve through social media platforms such as WeChat.

Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours. Like the Western saying "let bygones be bygones," at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.

Traditional foods eaten during the Spring festival are fish (the Chinese word for 'fish' sounds like the word for ‘surplus,’ so the eating of fish is supposed to bring a surplus of money and good luck); Chinese dumplings (as their shape is said to be like that of silver ingots, which were used as money in ancient Chinese); spring rolls; rice cakes and rice balls.

The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, on the next full moon, which is a celebration with singing, dancing, and lantern shows.

Around the world

Chinese New Year celebrations are not limited just to mainland China and those countries who observe it as a public holiday. Across the world, the Chinese diaspora from Southeast Asia's centuries-old Chinese communities to the more recent Chinatowns such as Sydney, London, San Francisco, Vancouver, Los Angeles will mark Chinese New Year, with parades and lion dances attracting large crowds. Iconic landmarks around the world such as the Tokyo Tower and the London Eye will turn red to mark the new year.

Working in Indonesia over Chinese New Year

Special overtime pay may be required. Overtime work by employees working six days a week and that falls during Indonesia’s statutory holidays must be compensated with two times the normal hourly wage for the first five hours of work, three times the normal hourly wage for the sixth hour of work, and four times the hourly wage for the seventh and eighth hour of overtime work.

Did you know?

Three facts about Imlek

Chinese New Year has been celebrated for over 4,000 years. Farmers started the holiday in China to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

On the stroke of midnight on the Chinese New Year, every door and window in a Chinese house is opened to allow the old year to go out.

People will often eat noodles on the second day of the Lunar New Year as noodles represent longevity.

More facts about Imlek

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