Chinese New Year is the most important festival worldwide for the Chinese community, a festival centuries old & an important opportunity to honor one’s ancestors & for families to gather together in a spirit of celebration. The festival celebrates the year of hard work just passed & seeks luck & prosperity, happiness & good health in the year to come.
One of the better-known activities associated with Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the Dragons or Lions Dance. It’s a ceremony charged with color & movement amidst a cacophony of clanging cymbals & beaten drums.
It’s believed the loud drums & the clashing of symbols, the face of the dragon & the vigorous dancing in conjunction with the redoubtable fireworks warns off evil spirits, thereby allowing good to fill the void.
Probably the best place to watch the Dragons Dance ceremony is at the Town Hall. The local population gathers there in significant numbers to witness the occasion, along with many children who remain captivated by the spectacle that unfolds.
The dragons run around the building driving out the evil spirits before proceeding in a similar manner throughout the various individual locations that make up the Town Hall. Here the Marriage Hall is cleared of any evil, any bad spirits for the year to come:
Red is omnipresent, an auspicious color believed to warn off evil spirits & to bring good fortune.
Similar ceremonies are performed throughout the day at various shops & retail outlets, individual homes & public places.
The giving of (usually) money placed in a red envelope, in the spirit of giving, offering greater rewards than taking. It’s another way to ward off any evil spirits and ensure prosperity in the year ahead.
The wife of the Mayor, an expert in these matters, told me that a Wednesday had been chosen for the ceremony as the sound of Wednesday pronounced in ancient Chinese means “life”.
Above all, however, the day was chosen as the Chinese calendar records that: “the energies of this day assure a comfortable passage in ensuring that all passes well”. The ceremony at the Town Hall was conducted with the aim of “ensuring the evacuation of bad habits to be replaced in turn by the spirit of abundance (of all things good) at every level”.
As the Mayor’s wife remarked after days of constant rain: “The skies cleared to an abundance of sunshine; thank you, Seigneur”.
May your year be filled with peace & happiness, may you enjoy prosperity & good health, & may your travels bring you to the wonderful gift of Mother Nature which is Bora Bora.
Kung Hei Fat Choy – Happy New Year – from Bora Bora.