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Jakarta Post

Capgomeh: The localization of Chinese culture

  • Setefanus Suprajitno


  /   Mon, February 25 2008   /  12:02 pm
LOCALIZED CHINESE CULTURE: Lontong capgomeh, rice cake served with various side dishes, indicates the localization of Chinese culture in the country. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)(JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Traditionally, Imlek, Indonesian for Chinese New Year, celebrations last for 15 days. This year Imlek fell on Feb. 7. The first day is usually reserved for welcoming gods. Over the next few days, people pray to gods and visit relatives. The fifth day is usually spent at home to commemorate the god of wealth, while, on the eighth day, people pray for happiness and luck. The 14th day is spent in preparation for the final day of Imlek celebrations. In China, the final day is known as Yuanxiao, or Goansiauw in Hokkien, a common Chinese dialect. In Indonesia it is more popularly referred to as Capgomeh, which means the 15th day. Like Imlek, Capgomeh is a family occasion strewn with prayers and is centered around a family dinner. The traditional food eaten at the dinner is Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls with a peanut and ground meat filling. Liem Thian Joe, Riwaja...