Monday, February 15, 2010

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Visitation, February 14

The parishioners of Visitation, Seremban, from different cultures and linguistic groups celebrated the Chinese cultural festival of the Lunar New Year or otherwise known as the Spring Festival. The celebrations kicked off with a lion dance performance that has been part of the parish celebration these past few years (with the exception of last year,where the lion dance was cancelled as a sign of respect and mourning at the demise of the late Yam Tuan of Negeri Sembilan). The lion dance symbolises the power of victory of good over evil, and therefore a symbol of joyful heralding in the New Year.

The climax of the celebrations was the bilingual mass presided by Rev. Fr. Michael Chua, Parish Priest of Visitation. During the homily, he reminded the congregation of the essential core of the Beatitudes which was read during the gospel, namely, true blessings comes from placing one's trust in God and God alone. Being the year of the Tiger, he used the example of the tiger as reminder that we should not be too self-confident as to believe in our own prowess, strength, capabilities, material wealth, success or popularity. "Today, the tiger is on the verge of extinction, precisely because of its strength. Here is an example where one's strength can be one's greatest weakness. Ultimately, one must find strength in God alone, the source of all blessings and goodness. Man curses himself when he places his trust solely on himself and his material wealth."

At the conclusion of the mass, the Chinese community also performed the traditional commemoration of ancestors. As the commentary noted before the rite was performed, this ritual has been approved by the Catholic Church as a valid cultural tradition of expressing filial piety to elders and ancestors. It is in no way to be confused with worship which is reserved only for God. More explanation can be derived from the website of the Singapore Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.

At the end of the whole celebrations, oranges and red packet were distributed to members of the congregation, which has become a popular cultural practice among the Chinese community (and others too) in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Terms of Use: As additional measure for security, please sign in before you leave your comments.

Please note that foul language will not be tolerated. Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, and antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be removed. Violators run the risk of being blocked permanently. You are fully responsible for the content you post. Please be responsible and stay on topic.