ASIA/CHINA - Chinese Catholics all over the world hope for a new year of peace and prosperity: Lunar New Year celebrated in mainland China and Chinese speaking communities overseas

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Beijing (Fides Service) - Lunar New Year will be celebrated by Chinese speaking people all over the world in the modern society of many cultures and ethnic groups and in the era of globalisation. February 9 is the first Day of the Year of the Rooster. New Year celebrations will be held all over this vast country as well as in special regions like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and Chinese communities overseas .
Chinese Catholics will thank God for the new year. On New Year’s eve at Holy Saviour parish church in Beijing there will be the last Mass of the Year of the Monkey in thanksgiving for the past year and to ask God to bless the new year which is starting. A local source said there will also be a special prayer for the Pope. “Tomorrow there will be four celebrations of Mass because it is the first day of the new Year of the Rooster and many people want to pray for peace in the world and the good of all humanity”, the source told Fides.
In Hong Kong, according to the diocesan bulletin Kong Ko Bao in joint message for the New Year six religious leaders say: “We, the leaders of six religious communities wish a happy new year to all Hong Kong citizens, a year of social harmony and civil peace”. Among the problems in Hong Kong society the leaders recalled “a crisis in Chinese traditional culture and morality and violence in and against the family”. They encouraged families to preserve family values, and China’s heritage which promotes respect and moral living .
Lunar New year is an international event. There will be Chinese speaking peoples celebrating in New York, Argentina, Jakarta, Portugal, France, Australia and even Iraq. Both US President W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent new year messages to Chinese speaking communities in their respective countries.
President Bush said “this tradition reminds us that our country is unique in its many cultures. We hope the new year will be one of peace and prosperity”. According to custom the Empire State Building in New York will be floodlit in red and gold traditional Chinese colours.
In honour of the Year of the Rooster which comes every 12 years, France has issued a new series of stamps for this year 2005. There will be traditional Chinese new year parades in Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, Indonesia and even in Baghdad, in Iraq, where about 30 Chinese are preparing to celebrate with a special dinner and telephone calls to relations in China Chinese Christians all over the world will celebrate Masses of thanksgiving and making acts of charity. (Agenzia Fides 08/02/2005 Righe: 37 Parole: 369)