When my children were in grade school, one day each year they would march with their classmates and teachers in a big in-school parade through the halls. They would don colorful capes and masks and carry bright red lanterns. They would end the parade with gatherings in their classroom to share an array of special eats.
What were they celebrating? Chinese New Year.
You might be holidayed out. Or you may be thinking – yay! Another distraction from the dark deep freeze we find ourselves in. We humans do our best to dress up the winter months (each and every one of them, it seems) with light and color and comfort food.
A Celebration of Family
Either way, I think Chinese New Year is worth noting. Why? Because the partying at this holiday is about honoring the bonds of family.
When the Chinese started this tradition in ancient days, the birth family was the most important unit of relationship. In 2016, the concept of “family” is broader – it can include extended family, blended family, partners, and dear friends. But the essence of the celebration is the same: taking time out of our busy lives (yep, put those computers away!) to gather with our inner circle. This can be a great ritual for children. A time to honor the reciprocal bond among their family members that supports and nurtures, rejoices in successes and comforts when there are disappointments.
So I intend to celebrate. And maybe you will, too. It doesn’t need to be for the entire weeklong holiday. Even just a quiet dinner can be profound: a moment to honor and affirm the importance of family to us as individuals, to our local communities, and to our human community around the world.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Share your stories of celebrating family.