Jan 28, 2006

On New Year's Eve

Finally, here comes the Eve of Chinese New Year. This festive season is also known as the Lunar New Year Festival as it is based on the lunar calendar. Today is the busiest day for most chinese family during this holiday season.

My parents, woke up early this morning to prepare the food, cookies and cakes to be served to visitors during Chinese New Year, arranging and putting them in special trays and containers used especially during this time of the year, and then putting them in the living room. We have also hung up one or two 'spring couplets' on the front door and around the house.

Later in the evening, my mom will be cooking for dinner... that will be a sumptuous meal, with 10 dishes (according to my mom, as 10 means 'complete'). Of the 10 dishes, one of them will be fish, Tilapia, also known in mandarin as 'fu gui yu', means 'the fish that brings prosperity'. Ahh.. why would I care what the fish means, that is my favourite freshwater fish, that is more important! *giggled* Another believe of the Chinese for fish is that it is a symbol of long life and good fortune. The picuture of fish can be seen in decorations, greeting cards, 'spring couplets' and even the red packets. The word 'yu' shares the same pronunciation as 'surplus' in mandarin. When we wish each other 'nian nian you yu', we wish the person to enjoy a surplus, that is financial security, every year.

Tonight, everyone will stay up to welcome the New Year. Some people believe that staying awake would help their parents live a longer life. Some are still following the ancient tradition - keeping lights on the entire night to drive away the monstor 'Nien'. Some will take this few hours to make the most out of the family get-together. Some others, especially the Buddhists and Taoist, hold religious ceremony after midnight to welcome the God of New Year and Prosperity into their homes. This is no practice for Chinese Christians. And also not forgetting firecrackers.

I do not believe in any of these ancient beliefs, but I do see that there are moral values behind the celebration. Like what the author said in my previous post, "Chinese New Year can degenerate into just another occasion for feasting and merry-making unless a conscious effort is made to put real meaning into the various customs."

Usually the first thing chinese do tomorrow (Chinese New Year day) is offering ritual homage to their ancestors and paying reverence to the gods. But for my family and relatives (and many other Chinese Christians), this is not put into practice. Well, we know where our faith lie in! We normally have a Chinese New Year thanksgiving Mass on the day itself, and tomorrow I will be assissting in the Mass.

Ooops..talking about the Mass, I remembered that I haven't finished what I am supposed to do! Gotta go! God bless.

Happy Chinese New Year to all who are reading my blog!
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