Special Topics / Spring Festival Series / Walking in the spring
In the west, every New Year is celebrated with firework displays on the eve of the New Year as well as exchanges of greeting cards. In contrast, the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival is celebrated from the eve of the New Year through the Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the month. The Lunar New Year is also the most significant festival amongst the three major Chinese festivals, namely, the Spring Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. This Chinese New Year 2017 heralds the arrival of the Year of the Rooster, which will start on January 28.
Dinner around the stove
On the eve of the Chinese New Year, it is customary to have a reunion dinner, usually at the home of the most senior members of the family such as grandparents or great grandparents. This dinner serves as a perfect bonding time and is attended by all family members; those who live out of town as well as couples who have already set up small families will make great effort to return in time for this reunion dinner. Also known as “dinner around the stove”, the entire family have the reunion dinner around the stove, a custom from the old-days to stave off the winter cold. Housewives are usually the busiest at these times, preparing food for the entire family. After dinner, the elders gift the younger family members red envelope as a symbol of blessing and good luck. The juniors, in return, gift the elders red envelope as a symbol of blessing and longevity.
Walking in the spring
The first day of the New Year’s Day is usually known as “walking in the spring” day; this is because everyone takes the opportunity to visit relatives and pray in the monastery.
The Lunar New Year is of extraordinary significance to the Chinese. Even the quiet atmosphere at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, Jin-Shan is transformed with throngs of visitors on their “walk in the spring”; the atmosphere is made livelier with decorated lanterns to greet the visitors.
Spiritual activities for Lunar New Year
A series of spiritual activities for the Lunar New Year is planned at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center. Amongst these activities are hitting the Lotus Bell on New Year Eve, Buddhist ceremonial rituals, liturgy and repentance of Buddha calligraphy writing of Buddhist sutra and Chan tea parties. The public with their families are warmly welcomed to the World Center for blessings as well as to greet the New Year.
Translator: Elenda Huang
Editor : Leefah Thong