Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vihara Dharma Bakti, the oldest vihara in Jakarta, appeared quieter than usual on Thursday ahead of this year's Lunar New Year (Imlek), which falls on February 10.

The vihara's manager, Ayn, 45, said that the number of Imlek visitors this year was still smaller.

"Compared to last year, the people who come to pray and other visitors here were fewer," she said while making preparations for the new year on Thursday.

She said that the number of worshipers at the vihara before last year's Imlek reached 500, but this year, only about 100 people showed up.

Further, the vihara prepared 30 giant candles, while there were 50 last year.

"There used to be many—at least 50 candles—now only 30," Ayn said.

However, the vihara, dating back to 1650, may see crowds on Saturday or Sunday (February 9–10), she said.

"Maybe it will be crowded on the day after tomorrow, which is the Imlek celebration," she added.

Some visitors worshiped at a Dhammasala, a general place of worship, on Thursday. Most of them were old and offered prayers using incense sticks.

Outside the Dhammasala, some people brought food as offerings and burned boxes containing clothes and pants for ancestors.

One of them was 59-year-old Meina, a resident of Pluit in North Jakarta, who said that she observes the tradition every year to honor her ancestors.

"We do this to honor them. It can be done at home or in the vihara," she added.

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Translator: Redemptus S, Kenzu
Editor: Anton Santoso
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