Celebrating Chinese New Year

by Ann van Engelen

New year celebrations were held at Fo Guang Shan Temple Christchurch on Friday, which included prayer, offerings, striking the Bell of Happiness, wishing cards, Chinese calligraphy and tea experience, as well as a vegetarian food fair that attracted more than 200 people. “After the new year eve prayer, Venerable Jue Xi, the minister in charge explained that in the Chinese tradition, they have a tradition called ‘resigning from the past year’. It means to resign from our bad habits, afflictions and attachments,” says Venerable Zhi Shen. “This year is the Year of the Rat. The rat represents cleverness and diligence, which is something we need to learn. Every new year, we all wish for wealth and prosperity. However, as long as we have compassion and wisdom, we are the wealthy ones. On the new year day, the Water Drop Cafe at the temple opened its door for guests to enjoy vegetarian meals and to welcome in the new year with a lion dance and the Wealthy God to wish for good health and wealth for the whole year.”