Lunar New year

Celebrating Lunar New Year

One of the biggest celebrations in the world began this week: Lunar New Year is on Tuesday (1st February 2022) with celebrations typically starting the night before.  If you have East Asian pupils in your school, you’ll know that Chinese New Year is a really big deal and a difficult time to be away from family. 

Top Tips for Christian assembly or Chapel talk

Philip Leung, an Old Harrovian and a church worker in Oxford, shares a few top tips about how schools can help Asian pupils celebrate Lunar New Year and what themes of this season could be used as the basis for a Christian assembly or Chapel talk.

-          If you have school assembly early next week, it’s important to acknowledge Lunar New Year and to wish East Asian pupils a happy New Year.  

-          It’s easy to buy the traditional Chinese red decorations and word posters – why not decorate communal areas of your boarding house? Or you could get Christian red word posters to decorate your Chapel.

-          Interviewing an Asian pupil in Chapel or a House assembly can be a great way for everyone to be informed about the importance of Lunar New Year

-          Many Asian homes would put sweet bowls out at this time of year: maybe leave bowls of sweets in communal areas for the week

-          Why not give your Asian pupils a bit more free time to be on FaceTime with their families?

-          Red pockets are small, traditional gift bags given out during New Year – they’re easy to get and you could give all Asian pupils one with chocolate coins in

-          For a special event, calligraphy is a traditional Chinese activity and you can download and print words to copy

Themes for a service on Lunar New Year

If you have the possibility of speaking about Lunar New Year in a Chapel or other setting, there are several key themes you could draw on:

-          the theme of blessing, which is central to celebrating New Year

-          the theme of family and community

-          the Christian belief that all nations and cultures will be celebrated in the New Creation

-          the experience of being far from home or even an exile in a foreign land, which some Asian pupils might particularly resonate with at this time of year. 

-          Lastly, the dancing lion and red decorations of Lunar New Year are traditionally thought to ward off evil spirits and anything that might spoil the New Year, so the theme of Christian hope over evil would be a good one too!

This article was first published in our online e-newsletter, e-TISCA News and Views. To sign up click http://eepurl.com/gZPPBL and select your preferences. We sent e-TNV out monthly, usually in the first week of the month.