Indonesia's Sant'Egidio Community brings Lunar New Year cheer

Lay Catholic group ensures elderly residents of Jakarta care home do not feel left out as nation marks Chinese New Year
Indonesia's Sant'Egidio Community brings Lunar New Year cheer

Elizabeth Kusuma, a 76-year-old ethnic Chinese Catholic woman, says the Sant’Egidio Community is a great comfort to her. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)

Wearing a red Chinese pattern top and red pants, Elizabeth Kusuma, a 76-year-old ethnic Chinese Catholic woman, could not hide her excitement at what she said would be a very special day.

“It is my first time celebrating Imlek with the Community of Sant'Egidio in Jakarta. I want to go to the Mass and the special lunch they are preparing for us,” she told UCA News.

“Imlek” is the local term for Lunar New Year celebrations in Indonesia, a country where nearly three million people out of a total population of 270 million are of Chinese descent and are mostly Christian. 

Under former president Suharto, Imlek and other Chinese celebrations were banned, but in 2001 one of his successors, Abdurrahman Wahid, lifted the ban and allowed Chinese Indonesians to celebrate their feasts.

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