Beyond decor, art, is family-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
THE importance of celebrating the Chinese New Year, beyond the activities and adornments, lies in expressing gratitude for the gift of life and family, said a Jesuit priest.
“The Chinese New Year is a priceless gift and festival because it is more than appreciating Chinese culture, watching the dances, music, décor, art, and more than receiving the ang pao or red envelope,” said Fr. Manny Uy, the homilist during the New Year’s eve mass at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“Chinese New Year is about family. Do not believe in trinkets, (it is) you (who) will bring happiness, love, respect, understanding and forgiveness in each family,” he added.
The mass held last Saturday night began with a dragon dance, a liturgical Chinese dance performed by students from the Sacred Heart School—Ateneo de Cebu. All the mass songs performed by the choir were in Chinese.
Uy said the people want more blessings in the New Year.
“The real blessing is to be a blessing to one another,” he added.
Many of the mass goers wore red, some wore variations of the cheongsam or Chinese dress, while others wore blouses or dresses adorned with circles.
Father Uy, Sacred Heart School—Ateneo de Cebu president, said the celebration was also done to honor the ancestors of Chinese families.
“We remember them with gratitude, we who have been blessed, living comfortable lives. We do not forget their beautiful stories. They braved the seas, they started from scratch and are responsible for where we are now,” he said.
“The important story to pass on to the new generation of Chinoys, (is the) selflessness, the sacrifice of our elders who worked and gave so much of themselves,” he added.
During the mass, an ancestor-honoring rite was conducted wherein symbolic offerings of incense, wine, flowers and fruits were done at an ancestral tablet at one side of the altar.
The ceremony, which was led by former ambassador Francisco Benedicto and businessman-lawyer Augusto Go, was followed by the reverential vows with the sounding of the gong.
Uy also explained in his homily that the Chinese New Year is also known as the start of the Chinese Spring Festival that lasts for 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival.
He said the Chinese calendar is the oldest chronological record in history and is at least two centuries ahead of the Gregorian calendar, which is the basis for the Christian calendar.
“For the Christian calendar, it is already 2013, for the Chinese calendar it would be the year 4710 or 471, depending on the computation,” he added.
The students, under the supervision of Rosita Shih, performed another dragon dance after the mass at the Shrine’s parking lot, followed by a fireworks display.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2013.