Time does pass so swiftly and it is now time for another animal of the Chinese zodiac to rule the year. Known as Shio here in Indonesia, the Chinese zodiac is still well known especially for the Chinese-Indonesian community. Similar to the Latin zodiacs which is more widely used (if you believe in astrology, that is), there are also twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. The zodiac signs are represented with animal signs, starting with the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. And like the Latin zodiac, these signs are also believed to influence the person’s personality. This year is the year of the Rooster, taking over from the previous year of the Monkey. The Chinese or the Lunar New Year is also known locally in Indonesia as Imlek. On this day, many Chinese-Indonesian would pay respect to their ancestors and travel to reunite with their family. Customs may vary along various parts of Indonesia, but most of them will include family dinner and the monetary gift which is given in a red envelope or hongbao or better known as angpao in Indonesia.
Since 2002, the Chinese New Year is a national holiday in Indonesia. And since this year it is celebrated in the weekend, many Indonesians (regardless they are celebrating Imlek or not) are taking short holiday, which lead to congestion in many holiday spots in the country, like my hometown in Malang. Overall, I wish for a better year in this year of the Rooster, as last year of the Monkey had been less than satisfactory. Lots of things had happen last year, but most of them were not so encouraging to say the least. And to think that the year of the Monkey should have been the year of my sign. Phew … So I was reasonably anxious to wait for this change of sign. Finally, I would also like Happy Lunar New Year and may this year bring you good health, luck and happiness! A short post for today and I will write more posts on my travel experiences later.