Thousands of Chinese celebrate Imlek 2561 in Aceh

Banda Aceh – Thousands of people of the Chinese ethnic flocked to Dharma Bhakti Temple in Banda Aceh on Sunday to join religious rituals and pray in conjunction with the celebration of the Chinese New Year or Imlek 2561.

Antara reported that people from China, the Buddha followers who reside in Aceh, which applies strict sharia law, began flocking to the temple from early Sunday morning.

Besides following religious rituals, the visitors of the temple were seen distributing snacks and ‘angpao’ (envelops containing money) to the needy.

The large crowd at the temple, which is located on Jl. Panglima Polim, attracted the attention of local people with many motorists slowing down to catch the glances of the procession, which has been held there every year.

Head of the Dharma Bhakti Temple Foundation Yuswar said that about 2,000 Chinese people and other Buddha followers joined the Imlek ritual in Banda Aceh every year.

“The Imlek celebration is intended to strengthen brotherhood and is a time to pray for Aceh to remain pleasant and enable it to maintain security,” Yuswar was quoted by Antara as saying.

He said that at the Imlek celebration, the Chinese in Aceh pray for improvement of the economic condition in the country and at the same time pray for Indonesia tocome out of any difficulties.

“We urge Chinese descendants in Aceh to maintain and improve unity and respect others so that they can live peacefully among the heterogeneous community,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Post