I receive a message from a Malaysian FB friend before CNY,
“We wishes you a very happy Chinese New Year to all our buddha friend, and may this auspicious day bring you a good health, blossoming prosperity and longevity for you and your loved ones……….!”
I was blessed…….. but I just can’t help by replying him to clarify some of the facts and myth about Lunar New Year.
Thanks for the greeting.
Here are some facts I would like to clarify…….
1. First of all, Lunar New Year or Spring festival (or so call Chinese New Year) is NOT a religious event but a cultural celebration of a change in season, from winter to spring, marking the arrival of new life.
People often have a myth that Lunar New Year is just Chinese New Year and important only in China. If fact, the festival was also celebrate widely by Korean, Vietnamese , Mongolian, Tibetan and even Japanese (before 1873) etc.
The spring festival not only celebrate by Buddhist, Christian and Taoism followers worldwide, but millions of Muslim in China also celebrate this festival.
In Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet, is honored by wiping away bad fortunes of the past year through cleaning and buying new clothing. Vietnamese women spend days in the kitchen preparing banh chung, a sticky rice cake, for Tet celebrations (Click here to read more on Vietnamese New Year)
In Korea, the three-day Seollal holiday is used by many to return to their home towns to visit their parents and other relatives where they perform the ancestral ritual known as charye.
On the eve, people clean their houses and light it with colorful halogens. At the evening of this day, Koreans take a bath with hot water and burn bamboo sticks to casts off the evil spell. Many Koreans dress up in colorful hanbok. Seollal is a favorite among Korean children because they receive a gift of money when they express thanks and respect to their elders. Families eat traditional rice cake soup called Tteokguk. (Click here to read more on Korean Lunar New Year).
In Tibet, the new year is called Losar (Chinese: 洛萨). Losar is the most important holiday in Tibet and is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days. For Tibetans, the start of the new year is a sacred time, a time to be with family and with one’s faith. It is also a joyous time of feasting and celebration.
Although it often falls on the same day as the Chinese New Year (sometimes with one day or occasionally with one lunar month difference), Losar is generally not thought to be culturally directly connected to that holiday. It is culturally more related to Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia than to the Chinese New Year festivity. (Click here to read more on Losar, Tibetan New Year)
2. Secondly, a person who adheres to Buddhism religion and philosophy is call “Buddhist”. Just like a person who adheres to Christianity is call Christian. A Muslim is an adherent of the religion of Islam.
Hope we appreciate different cultures as we live in this multicultural and multiracial colorful Malaysia.
Today marks the end of the new year celebration (15th day). Wish all a Happy Yuan Xiao.