Hundreds of people from various cultural backgrounds on Monday crowded a market at Glodok, the largest Chinatown in Indonesia's capital city Jakarta, to buy cakes, clothes, decorations for the celebration of the Chinese New Year festival, locally known as Imlek.
Visitors strolling through Glodok in West Jakarta were greeted by a series of traditional red lantern installations overhead.
Due to the rising daily number of COVID-19 cases, however, festive shows, such as the performance of the traditional lion dance (locally known as barongsai) and fireworks displays, were not held in the area which is also known as Pecinan since the Dutch colonial era.
Rachmawati, an ethnic Java, used to take her two kids to Glodok from her home in the southern part of Jakarta ahead of the Chinese New Year to see the barongsai performance.
"My kids have long become fans of barongsai attractions. Today, we came to this place to only get some sweet cakes and accessories. Despite no barongsai attractions, we are still delighted," she told Xinhua.
Meanwhile, Aileen Tan with her colleagues visited the market after office hours to show her workmates, who are not of Chinese ethnicity, how the Chinese-Indonesian community in Jakarta usually prepares to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and there, they also bought some clothes, cakes as well as decorative accessories.
"At the office, they asked me to take them strolling around Pecinan. They were so excited when I said yes," said Tan, a Chinese Indonesian who originates from Medan city, North Sumatra province, and has been living in Jakarta for more than five years.
The lunar Chinese New Year this year falls on Tuesday, marking the start of the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese zodiac.
In the past two weeks, the number of visitors and business operations in Glodok have been increasing despite the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Arina, the owner of a local cake shop, said that her shop has been visited by many customers in the past two weeks.
"Last weekend, my shop was full of people," the 67-year-old woman said, adding that some of her customers came from outside the island of Java.
She said that her business was badly impacted by the pandemic last year. "Thankfully, more and more customers are now coming. Hopefully, the Omicron won't make the situation difficult," said Arina.
Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas on Monday extended his greetings to the Chinese-Indonesian community on the Chinese New Year of the Tiger.
"Hopefully, throughout The Year of the Water Tiger, all problems can be resolved, and we all always live in harmony, peace and prosperity," the minister said.
He called on the public to celebrate the festive day in a moderate way as the Omicron is spreading across the country rapidly.
"We have to be more cautious. Let's celebrate Chinese New Year this year with simplicity without reducing its meaning and continue to apply health protocols," the minister said.