Wish Lanterns Fly in Jakarta Lunar New Year Celebrations

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The flying of wish lanterns enlivened Lunar New Year celebrations in one of Jakarta's tourist centers. Behind this popular activity is the belief that the wishes of those who fly the lanterns can be fulfilled.

Hundreds of people gathered at the "Pier of Heart," located at Ancol Beach in Jakarta.

They were busy preparing hundreds of heart-shaped wish lanterns that they later flew in the sky.


The wish lanterns are symbolic of hope and prayer... ushering in the Lunar New Year.

[Anna Liong, Visitor]:
"It was in Chinese belief that if they fly a lantern, then their hope will be closer to the sky, and then the hope will be more likely to come true."

So what are the wishes of visitors who are flying these lanterns?

[Anna Liong, Visitor]:
"I hope that I can contribute to my society, and then the people around me can become better, healthier, happier, and then we can help each other and live together. For Indonesia, I hope the government will do a better job, so that there will be less corruption, and people can work properly for a better economy."

The "edutainment" concept initiated by Ancol Dreamland presents learning in the context of entertaining events.

Visitors who fly the lanterns learn about the principles of physics that apply to hot air balloons -- using a burner to heat the air, making it rise.

As a result, Dreamland visitors learn more about the culture of ancient Chinese lanterns, which has now become a part of Indonesian culture.

Indonesian Chinese have only been allowed to celebrate the Lunar New Year since 2000, when late President Abdurrahman Wahid repealed a decree passed by his predecessor Suharto in 1967.

That decree banned Indonesia's ethnic Chinese from celebrating their New Year in public. Suharto's policy suppressed or strongly discouraged many aspects of Chinese culture, including the use of the Chinese language and names.

NTD News, Jakarta, Indonesia.