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The Chinese New Year and Christianity
My granddaughter was born in China. I have been to China and think it is a remarkable country, but my interest in Chinese traditions, especially Chinese New Year, was sparked by my love for this precious little girl.
Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. Unlike New Year which is celebrated in many other countries on the first day of January, Chinese New Year dates vary from year to year.
In 2012, the Chinese New Year is on January 23, beginning a fifteen-day celebration that begins with the new moon on the first day of the new year and ends with the full moon fifteen days later.
It is the most important of Chinese festivals. As it officially marks the end of the winter season, it is also known as the Spring Festival.
Families gather on the eve of Chinese New Year or “Eve of the Passing Year” for a grand reunion and feast. Before the gathering, the house is thoroughly cleaned. It means getting rid of any bad luck that might be in the house and making way for the incoming good that the new year might hold. Windows and doors have already been decorated with red paper cutouts declaring “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth” or “longevity”. Firecrackers end the evening’s festivities.
On Chinese New Year morning, children and unmarried adults receive money in red paper envelopes. Families also exchange gifts, ranging from items used to celebrate the season — like lanterns — to practical gifts like laptops and organizers. Anything related to Chinese calligraphy is also a popular gift.
The New Year’s family reunion honors generations past and present. The Chinese celebrate the start of the new year as one big community – deceased ancestors and living family members. Deceased family members are greatly respected because of the foundations they established for the family.
I am Christian. My observance of any feast is seen through Christian eyes. I see the new year as a reminder that God is a God of a new beginning. Our spiritual homes must be kept clean at all times in order to be closer to Him. Every good thing in life is a gift from God. He encourages us to share with others what we have. As Christians, we make a seasonal observance of the gifts when we celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas. Our foundations were laid by our ancestors and those who have left a positive imprint on our lives should be remembered with gratitude. God promises that we will be reunited again with all of our earthly family members who are also part of our eternal family.
There is one person I am determined to remember every day, not just on vacation. He gave his life for mine. He saved me from my sin and made life with him and those who love him possible for eternity.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19).
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