The Christian and Chinese Lunar New Year

 

 

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The Christian and Chinese Lunar New Year (Chun Jie)

Dr. Alex Tang

 

Chun Jie is also known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate the beginning of spring in China and a time to celebrate the new life that is about to spring forth.

 

Mythological History

 

The myth surround Chun Jie tells of the existence of a monster known as nian. This beast slept throughout the year, waking up for a short period to find and consume food. Though fearful of the beast, people found that it is afraid of bright lights, loud noises and the colour red. Therefore on the eve of the day the beast will wake up, the families will gather in groups for protection. All the lights in the house were switched on and firecrackers were lighted to frightened off the beast. The people also wore red and hung red lanterns over their doorposts. As added protection for their children, red packets were given out.

 

Some Christian Considerations

 

Study the following Chun Jie activities and decide whether as a Christians you can participate in them. If not, what are the alternatives?

 

 

Chun Jie Activities

Yes

No

Why? Any Christian alternative?

1

Spring cleaning of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

2

Can only clean the house until 12 midnite on New year eve. Cannot sweep the house on New Year day as it will sweep away the good luck

 

 

 

3

Attend reunion dinner. Fish (yu) must be on the menu. The fish must not be eaten completely so that there will be a ‘surplus every year’. Nian nian you yu

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

What about eating food that has been used in offering to the ancestor tablets or placed on the altars?

 

 

 

5

Feeding of nian gao (sweet and sticky cake) at kitchen god on New Year day. To bribe the kitchen god so that he will have nice things to say to the emperor of heaven.

 

 

 

 

6

Decorating the house with chun jie symbols

§         Pussy willows (longevity)

§         Kumquat and mandarin oranges (luck and prosperity)

§         Plum blossoms (purity and honesty)

§         Decorate your front door with a red cloth and red lantern.

§         Auspicious words on paper (wishes of blessing and abundance)

 

 

 

7

Wake up early to wish the elders and receive ang pows

 

 

 

 

 

8

Wear new clothes (symbolise the wish for blessing and bounty the year ahead)

 

 

 

 

 

9

Cleaning ancestral altar and setting fresh food offerings with joss sticks.

 

 

 

 

 

10

Giving gifts with oranges “pai nian” . Not to give anything in odd numbers as it is considered bad luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

Avoid eating porridge and sweet potatoes because it will rain when you go on long journeys and you will get wet.

 

 

 

 

 

12

Avoid taking medicine or you will become sick in the year. If you have to take medicine, tie it with a red string.

 

 

 

 

 

13

Tossing the Yu Sheng (fish for abundance, pomelo for luck, crackers for piles of gold)

 

 

 

 

 

14

Refrain from fighting and hurling abuse as it will bring bad luck

 

 

 

 

 

15

Never mention death or someone in the family will die

 

 

 

 

 

16

Do not take afternoon naps or the family business will suffers

 

 

 

 

 

17

Do not beat or scold children or the children will become more naughty throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

18

Do not read books (shu) on New Year day or your business will suffer.

 

 

 

 

19

Watching dragon dances and objects with pictures of dragons on it.

 

 

 

 

 

20

Wearing red underwear will bring you good luck, especially in the Year of the Monkey because some monkeys have red butts.

 

 

 

 

 

Some Christian Principles in Decision making

 

1.                  Did the Bible forbid these practices? (1 Corinthians 8: 4-6; Rom.14:14-22)

2.                  Will it stumble a younger/ other Christians? (1 Corinthians 8:7-13; Rom.14:13)

3.                  Is it a good witness for Christ?

4.                  Will it offend other members of your family?

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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