This year, COS’s observation of Chinese New Year will look a little different. While we will not be gathering for our usual grand celebration, we warmly invite you to visit Grace Chapel to celebrate with us in several ways.
The Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year, generally refers to the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the first month in the Chinese traditional calendar. Because of the size of China and the variety of traditions, the period of the Spring Festival starts on different days during the twelfth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. For some people, the Spring Festival starts on the eighth day of the twelfth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar (also called the day of the wax offering). For others, it begins on the 23rd or the 24th day of the twelfth month (the day of making offerings to the kitchen god). Whatever the start date, the Festival lasts until the fifteenth day of the first month, with the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the first month as the climax.
The Spring Festival, being the beginning of the Chinese lunar year, is the most solemn traditional festival for the Chinese people. A symbol of unity and prosperity, it looks toward a future of new hope. According to records, the Spring Festival has a history going back more than 4,000 years in China.
During the Spring Festival, Chinese people will uphold various traditions to celebrate. These include worshiping gods and Buddhas, ancestor worship, removal of the old things and the welcoming of the new, receiving blessings, praying for a good harvest, and so on.
These activities are rich and colorful, with strong ethnic characteristics. Like the varying dates of the festival, traditional activities also vary from one area to another across China. The celebration displays during the Spring Festival include the lion dance, floating color dance, dragon dance, temple fair, flower street, lantern appreciation, gongs and drums, different flags, fireworks, blessings, walking on stilts, land boat running (Come talk to me about this!), yangko dance, and so on. The folk customs of the Spring Festival are a concentrated display of the essence of the life and culture of the Chinese nation.
Join us in celebrating the Spring Festival!
This year at Church of Our Saviour, Grace Chapel will be adorned with typical Chinese New Year decorations. During the Sunday forum on at 9 am on January 30, we will present a brief introduction to the Festival, with slides and demonstrations. The forum will also include live performances of traditional Chinese music with Chinese instruments! And at different “stations” during the forum hour, we will practice paper-cutting for the Chinese New Year and learn how to make a Chinese “Double Happiness” character with only three simple cuts. We will also see a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy with brush pens—you will take home words in Chinese characters such as “Blessings,” written with a brush pen.
The chapel installation will showcase Chinese paintings and other art works, and we also welcome you to come in and view them through the first week of February (Sunday before and after church services; Mon-Fri from 10 am to 3 pm; closed Saturday.)
For those who wish to celebrate with us virtually, the installation will offered as a virtual tour - stay tuned for the link. We also invite you to join us for a Chinese New Year’s Eve celebration online. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link!