Yati, a florist in Petak Sembilan, Glodok (Photo: Brilio.net/Retno Wulandari)

Jakarta has a lot of opportunities to offer and Yati is one of those who come to seize them.

Retno Wulandari   13 February 2017 12:10

For the last past month, people in petak Sembilan area in Glodok, West Jakarta, were busy for the Chinese New Year season. The actual New Year's Day was not the only occassion when people buzzed the area. There's also Cap Go Meh, also known as Yuan Xiao Jie, that marks the fifteenth day of the new year and also the end of the season's celebration.

In Jalan Kemenangan III in Petak Sembilan, where Dharma Bhakti (Jin De Yuan) Temple is located, hawkers set up their stalls to sell Chinese New Year necessities. One of them, right in front of the temple’s gate, was Ibu Yati who owns a flower shop.

Are these flowers for the Chinese New Year rituals?

Yes, they are. Flowers are amongst the most important parts of many Confucian’s celebrations, such as Chinese New Year and Cap Go Meh. They decorate their houses with various flowers during the holiday. The flowers make the houses smell good and they also help to get rid of the choking smell and smoke from the incenses. Fresh flowers are believed to bring the happiness and joy. They are also a symbol of love and affection to their deities. For example, tuberose flower is dedicated to Goddess Kwan Im (Guan Yin).

Why tuberose?

Tuberoses are very fragrant. They are a symbol of determination to always behave well, to maintain family’s good reputation. They’re my best seller. Besides tuberose, another important flower is the lotus. If we assume the flower as a food to the deities, tuberose is the rice and lotus is the meat.

Are you always selling flowers in front of this monastery?

No. I only sell flowers here during Confucian’s religious holidays, during the Chinese New Year, Cap Go Meh, and commemorations of Goddess Kwan Im's birthday. Just like the past Chinese New Year celebrations, I started selling flowers about one month before the day. Then, I had time to prepare my flowers for Cap Go Meh. I'm going back home after the celebration is over.

Going back home? Aren’t you from Jakarta?

No, my husband and I came from Semarang. We have a home in Jakarta but we don’t stay here. I have my mother stay with me, so we want our family to be together so we can take care of her.

When you’re not selling flowers, what do you do?

We are farmers, actually. When we’re not in Jakarta selling flowers, we cultivate the crops in my homeland. That’s also one of the reasons why we won’t stay in Jakarta. We have land to cultivate and crops to harvest. Sometimes at home, I also make traditional cakes for sale.


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