By: Cecilia Paramitha)*
Until now, the status of the Covid-19 pandemic has not been declared to have stopped, especially with the increase in cases of local transmission of the Omicron variant. This increase in cases of course makes Chinese New Year celebrations to be celebrated in a simple manner and still heed the health protocols (Prokes).
Minister of Religion (Menag) Yaqut Cholil Qoumas reminded Confucians and the Chinese community to be able to implement health protocols when celebrating the Chinese New Year 2573 Kongzili. This recommendation is in line with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Yaqut also issued Circular (SE) number 02 of 2022. He hopes that the regulation can be implemented because it aims to provide a sense of security to Confucians and the wider community. The SE was signed by Yaqut on January 25, 2022.
In the written circular, Yaqut requested that the health protocol be strictly enforced in every event. Starting from the Er Shi Sheng An prayer or the Day of Brotherhood, the Chu Xi prayer or the End of the Year.
Then the 2573 Kongzili Chinese New Year Prayers, Jing Tian Gong (To Tian/God) Prayers, and Shang Yuan/Yuanxiao/Cap Go Meh Prayers.
Based on SE No. SE 02 of 2022, the implementation of the 2573 Kongziki Chinese New Year Festival can be carried out in all temples, miao, litang, xuetang. But with a note that it is held in a limited manner with a maximum capacity of 10% or adjusted to the level of each region.
In the SE, apart from an appeal regarding the implementation of strict health procedures, Yaqut also asked Confucians not to go out of town. He asked that Chinese New Year be celebrated in a simple and limited manner, and to avoid crowds, family gatherings and large numbers of relatives.
Celebration activities must also be coordinated with the Covid-19 Task Force in their respective environments. He also appealed to the people to prioritize sharing activities with others and helping people in need.
Yaqut also said that big prayers to God or King Thi Kong/Jing Tian Gong can also be performed in a limited manner. Maximum capacity of 10% or according to the level of each area. Don’t forget to strictly implement the Covid-19 protocol.
Likewise, the Shang Yuan/Yuanxiao/Cap Go Meh prayers can also be performed on a limited basis. A maximum of 10% or according to the regional PPKM level from the capacity of the celebration venue. Yaqut said the COVID-19 pandemic situation was still dangerous. Everyone must increase vigilance so as not to contract the virus.
Prior to the implementation, the committee is required to coordinate with the local government. Then the Covid-19 Handling Task Force and local security elements to find out the zoning status and prepare supervisors for the implementation of the Covid-19 process.
In line with the Ministry of Religion, the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) appealed to the public to remain disciplined in implementing health protocols in celebrating Chinese New Year on February 1, 2022. Spokesperson for the Covid-19 Vaccination of the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, appealed to the public to continue to limit mobility. Then don’t take advantage of the Lunar New Year moment for holidays, even go on tours because Indonesia’s Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
Nadia also revealed that regulations for the safe Covid-19 Chinese New Year celebration would be drawn up. The details will be discussed during the evaluation meeting of the implementation of restrictions on community activities (PPKM). It should also be noted that DKI Jakarta Province has experienced an increase in BOR, from the previous 54% to now 56%. Of the 4,361 beds for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, currently 2,426 beds have been filled.
Deputy Governor of DKI Jakarta Ahmad Riza Patria asked Jakarta residents to be vigilant. He stressed the best place at this time is at home and reduce activity.
On a different occasion, in Solo, the 2022 Joint Lunar New Year Committee will simplify the series of activities held during Chinese New Year, namely by eliminating the Grebek Sudiro event, while the cap go meh celebration which is usually attended by 1,000 participants, this year will be reduced to 200 participants. In addition, the committee also canceled the parade of 10 dragon lion dances that usually play to the Surakarta City Hall. The event was replaced with a cucuk lampah which would take the Mayor from the transit point to the event venue.
Chinese New Year celebrations during a pandemic do require regulation, so that the celebrations can continue and do not create new clusters in places of worship.
)* The author is a contributor to the Nusa Bangsa Institute