Each year, we gather together at our local Chinese restaurant to pick up our dinner. The choice of restaurants is easy… It’s the only Chinese restaurant in town! This is the only part of the night that costs money. They order what they want to eat, or if they want to save a few dollars, they order nothing! One year we even had a couple from church offer to donate money toward the dinner so everyone got free food!
We try to watch a movie that has something to do with the particular animal being celebrated. Last year (2014) was the year of the horse, so we watched Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. This year is the year of the goat. That’s right, the goat! What the heck do you watch on the year of the goat??? The only movie I found was Goats, an R-rated movie about a kid, his hippie mother, and his father: Goat Man. We don’t do R-rated movies for youth group… and it looked stupid, so we passed on that. I thought we might be able to get away with The Hunchback of Notre Dame since Esmeralda has a pet goat, or even Hercules with its half goat character, Phil. Sometimes this year is also called the Year of the Sheep, so I thought maybe Babe. In the end I let the students pick. They decided to go with the obvious choice: Mulan.
Am I Chinese? Nope. Do I observe Chinese New Year? Not really. Is Chinese New Year a Christian holiday? Not even sort of. So why do I have a party for my youth group on Chinese New Year? The answer is simple: I needed to put something on an empty event calendar a few years ago and Chinese food is delicious! I honestly don’t even know that much about the day beyond what Wikipedia told me.
According to Wikipedia: “Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. It falls between January 21 and February 20. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.”
I do have respect for people of all cultures. I think it’s part of what makes this world so fascinating! I love being able to take part in celebrations of various cultures. Especially when the food is so good!
How would you finish this? “I celebrate Chinese New Year by…” Comment me!