Wednesday, Jan 16 2019
CELEBRATING CHINESE NEW YEAR - 24 JANUARY 2005
Sai Ram Uncles, Aunties, Gurus, brothers and sisters. My name is Justin and I am from Group 3. My topic for this evening is Celebrating Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year. It starts with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. This year’s Chinese New Year falls on 9 – 10 Feb 05.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as family affairs, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration is traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the Gods of the household and the family ancestors.
The Reunion Dinner is an important event where all the members of the family get together to feast on many wonderful dishes. My mother, for instance, likes to eat nian gao. This is a Chinese New Year cake and the Chinese believe that whoever eats this cake during Chinese New Year will be in for a promotion at work.
Children are encouraged to stay awake until midnight because it is believed that if they go to sleep early they will have a short life. This is the best opportunity for me to stay awake as long as I want without being scolded by my mum.
The most exciting part is when all the children get their red packets from their parents, grandparents and relatives. A Red Packet (Red Envelope), often called Hong Bao, is simply a red envelope with money in it and is usually decorated with lucky symbols, which symbolizes luck and wealth.
When we go visiting, we bring mandarin oranges. It could be two or four, as long as it is in even numbers. Oranges are symbols of wealth and good fortune. We greet each other with ‘gong xi fa cai’ which means ‘Wishing you a prosperous new year’.
The underlying message of celebrating Chinese New Year is one of peace and happiness for family members and friends. We should not forget our tradition, culture and our respect for elders.
Swami says festivals are like alarm bells. They awaken us and remind us to worship God, experience bliss of devotion and overcome pain & sorrow. Only if you and others are happy, can it be called a festival. We must all live in love and service.
To start of my new year, I’d like to pledge my Hong Bao money to the Tsunami victims.
Wishing all of you a Happy Chinese New Year 2005!
Jai Sai Ram
SSEHV Group 3