February 10, 2013 marks the start of a new year for more than one-fifth of the world’s population. While I do not represent that “one-fifth,” I share many links with it. We have attended each other’s weddings, funerals and other more joyous events. It is the most important of traditional Chinese holidays among us. It is also often referred to as the Lunar New Year.
The first day of the New Year is a time to honor your elders and families generally visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. This is an example of filial piety and is a tradition we could all benefit from, “paying homage to those who have travelled ahead of us.”
Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash known as lai see or angpow, a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.1 I know my children would have loved following this practice, along with those of everyone else’s holidays!
Business managers give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.
I bring some of these traditions up because it has recently come to my attention that China has surpassed the U.S. to become the World’s Largest Trading Nation.2
Isn’t it a better practice to wish your neighbor goodwill? You never know the future will turn. I say Xin nian kuai le (Happy New Year!) and Gong hai fa cai (Congratulations and be prosperous!) out of genuine respect and brotherhood with my neighbor. As I grow older, peace and harmony become ever more important and less stressful for me.
The world is a beautiful place and it grows smaller each day!
2 Bloomberg News