Chinese New Year, the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, has started in Asia on February 3rd, 2011 – the Year of the Rabbit. Chinese Christians were encouraged to use this time of family reunion to witness and reconcile with their families.
While the Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone, Christian ministries are reaching out to the public with the eternal blessings – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Hong Kong, locals gathered throughout the city with Victoria Garden Flea Market as one of the most crowded locations, where crowds of people make their ways pass through eclectic displays of booths decorated with Year of the Rabbit themes balloons, paintings, hand-crafted windmills, and the sort.
While it is the Chinese tradition to decorate their windows and doors with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”, Chinese Bible International Limited has setup a booth at the flea market and invited a pastor to write spring couplets.
Rev. Sam H. C. Luk, general secretary of the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union, muster couplets with his best calligraphic style on vertical strips of red paper while his ministry’s co-workers passed them out to by-passers. In addition, large volume of spring couplets with Bible phrases were printed and passed out.
When Luk saw reporters from The Gospel Herald, he immediately wrote two couplets, complementing the staff for their accurate reporting and encouraging them to enjoy their work in their ministry. Those who received these spring couplets written in love were filled with delights and joy.
Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) also had a booth, where they sold hand-crafted accessories with the theme of the Year of the Rabbit, to fund-raise for low-income families in the city.
Meanwhile, the Catholics hung up a neon-light sign that showed “The Lord is Love”, which made their booth stood out from the rest of the exhibitors.
That night, the Buddhists, Taoists, and other religious organizations were seen with booths.
On the eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes.
Chinese in in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and also in Chinatowns celebrate this special festivity with their families.
[Editor's note: reporter Sharon Chan from Hong Kong contributed to this report.]