(This post is part of our “Give away the gospel” series.)
Lunar New Year is coming! Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans in Australia, Canada, the US, Europe and, of course, in every corner of Asia, are getting ready to celebrate this major festival on the Lunar calendar.
If you were to visit a Chinese home during this season, you might find greetings and wishes in red and gold adorning the house, while pots of New Year plants and lanterns grace the entrances. Mandarin oranges would be carefully arranged in baskets alongside jars and trays of New Year goodies. The air would be filled with the aroma of pots of delicacies gently cooking in the kitchen. Occasionally, you might hear the booms and clangs of drums and cymbals of a passing lion dance troupe or the tunes of New Year music coming from a music player.
It is a special occasion, not in small part, because it is a time for family reunions. There would be the all-important reunion dinner, typically held on the eve of New Year’s Day. Family from far and wide would gather that evening for a time of feasting and catching-up. For many families, this would be the only time in the year where the entire clan would be together.
New Year’s Day would start with everyone dressing up in brand new clothes. Chinese children and adults alike, bearing two mandarin oranges in their hands, would greet each other and exchange oranges. Married people would hand out money gifts in the form of little red envelopes (called red packets) to the children and unmarried family and friends. (In Taiwan, working adults would also hand out red packets to non-working adults.) Friends would visit each other and spend time catching-up over plates of New Year snacks.
Perhaps you’re not Asian but have Asian friends living and working in your communities. Is there a way you can celebrate the occasion and share God’s love with them? It would be most appropriate to send them a New Year greeting card. Or, you can also give them the good news in their heart language, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus (in traditional or simplified Chinese) or copies of By This Name. And if not a book, you can also give them an audiobook in Mandarin or Cantonese. If you do, remember, it is polite in their culture to present a gift with both hands. Who knows? You just may bless them with the best news they could hear in 2013. Order the books now to get them in time for Chinese New Year.
Resources: The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus is available in a number of languages including Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. Check the list of available translations.
(Do be extra sensitive in handing out books. Some relatives and friends may shun books at Chinese New Year because the Chinese word for ‘book’ [shu] sounds like the word for ‘lose’ [shu]. Please use discernment.)