press enter to search

Thousands of lanterns brighten Chinese New Year celebrations in Surakarta

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java  /  Sun, February 3, 2019  /  08:04 am
Thousands of lanterns brighten Chinese New Year celebrations in Surakarta

Visitors check out lanterns in front of Surakarta town square during Chinese New Year festivities. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Around 5,000 lanterns are hanging at the center of Surakarta, from Sudiroprajan Chinatown, Pasar Gede Market, Tien Kok Sie Temple to Surakarta town square. The space above three main roads in Surakarta, namely Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jl. Urip Sumoharjo and Jl. RE Martadinata is dotted with different colors and lantern shapes.

Pig-shaped lanterns are seen amid Chinese New Year festivities in Surakarta, welcoming the Year of the PigPig-shaped lanterns are seen amid Chinese New Year festivities in Surakarta, welcoming the Year of the Pig (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

The Pasar Gede clock tower is also decorated with lanterns, as is Surakarta town square, which boasts lanterns in the shape of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and Punokawan (clown servants of the heroes in Javanese epoch) characters.

A barongsai (lion dance) performance entertains visitors at a lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central Java.A barongsai (lion dance) performance entertains visitors at a lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central Java. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

The Pepe River and its bridge in front of Pasar Gede also look brighter with the lanterns, and serve as a background for boats carrying those who wish to relive the days when the Pepe River was used as a trade route.

Lanterns are installed in Surakarta’s city center to celebrate Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 5. They were lit on Jan. 27 and the lights will not be turned off until the celebration of Cap Go Meh.

Glittering balloons are for sale at the lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central JavaGlittering balloons are for sale at the lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central Java (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Read also: Restaurants at Jakarta hotels to visit on Chinese New Year

The tradition of decorating the city with thousands of lanterns started in 2007, in conjunction with Grebeg Sudiro, a Chinese New Year celebration created as the result of acculturation between Javanese and Chinese cultures.

Boats cruise the Pepe River under lanterns during a lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central JavaBoats cruise the Pepe River under lanterns during a lantern festival to celebrate Chinese New Year in Surakarta, Central Java (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Residents of Surakarta and visitors from neighboring cities flock to the lantern-filled celebration. They come in groups of friends or family, immortalizing the moment with selfies.

Food, drink and toy vendors further enliven the street festivities. People wearing movie character costumes also roam around, offering photographs for money.

Around 5,000 lanterns are lit in the city center of Surakarta to celebrate Chinese New Year. Around 5,000 lanterns are lit in the city center of Surakarta to celebrate Chinese New Year. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Entertainment, such as karawitan music, Javanese traditional dance, lion and dragon dances are performed on a stage at Pasar Gede Market square to entertain visitors. (mut)

Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)

close x
Subscribe to get unlimited access Get 50% off now