Year of the Rabbit: Chinese and Lunar New Year

Year of the Rabbit: Chinese and Lunar New Year

This January, you will hear celebrations of Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Rabbit. But what does it all mean? Here’s everything you need to know, and how to celebrate.

While many of us celebrated the New Year on December 31st, for many members of our multicultural community, Lunar New Year is the time to celebrate what the next 12 months will have in store.

Celebrated by an estimated 2 billion people worldwide, Lunar New Year (January 22, in 2023) is a time to celebrate the lunar calendar through food, rituals, traditions, and celebrations.

But what is Lunar New Year all about? And what does the Year of the Rabbit (or for Vietnamese communities, the Year of the Cat) have in store for 2023? 

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Unorthodox Lessons for the Orthodox Church 

Unorthodox Lessons for the Orthodox Church 

The secular – either as secularism or as secularisation – being the norm and convention of our socio-political environment and everyday lifeworld might provide us with some new and special opportunities to take the Gospel more seriously, to appreciate our Orthodox Christian vocation, to engage and experiment with new mission practices, and finally to enrich both the history and experience of our faith. These are the unorthodox secular lessons that the Orthodox Church can and should take on board and make the best out of them! 

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Rituals: Crucial Across History, Essential for Humans Today

Rituals: Crucial Across History, Essential for Humans Today

Each December, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, among others, take over our thoughts and our wallets as we participate in ceremonies our ancestors have practised for as long as we can remember. These are all example of traditions. And in most cases, traditions are accompanied by rituals.

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Sikhs at Christmas

Family at AmritsarIn India, all religions join in ‘The Big Day’ with Christians the world over celebrating Christmas. India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday. The week of Christmas is typically a time of mourning for Sikhs, commemorating the martyrdom of their tenth Guru’s four sons.

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Christian Pilgrims Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem 

Women at the Church of the Nativity
Women at the Church of the Nativity
Jerusalem — The streets of Bethlehem are crowded for Christmas again, after two years of COVID-related restrictions. In the Church of the Nativity, the faithful celebrated Jesus’s birth as the number of Palestinian Christians continues to dwindle.
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World Council of Churches: The Message of Christmas

World Council of Churches logo

“The joyful message of the first Christmas states that the love of God in Christ is meant indeed for all people, for the whole of creation,” reads the message. “Our time is a time of fear.”

Some fear the climate emergency, the message acknowledges. “Many are afraid today that they will no longer be able to feed their children tomorrow,” the message laments. “Others are afraid that military conflicts may cause nuclear disasters.”

“The angels of the first Christmas called the shepherds to have faith in the divine promise of peace on earth and God’s goodwill towards humanity,”

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True love never coerces: a meditation for Christmas 2022

True love never coerces: a meditation for Christmas 2022

Imagine if we did not need to pray for those who die today, violently and unprepared. Imagine if the United Nations members convened in deep silence and resolved to rid the planet of all weapons of mass destruction and to prevent catastrophic climate change. Imagine if the cruelty being inflicted on the people of Ukraine, mid winter, was to cease and young people of both nations partnered in rebuilding all that had been destroyed …

Join with me, for a time, and imagine, imagine, imagine, writes Bishop Philip Huggins.

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Over 1,000 faith leaders call for Christmas cease-fire in Ukraine

Christmas truce UKRAINE
(RNS) — Over 1,000 U.S. faith leaders are calling for a Christmas cease-fire in Ukraine 10 months after Russia invaded its neighbor. The leaders, who represent a broad range of faiths, said they hoped a temporary truce could lead to the negotiation of permanent peace. The signers are advocating for a cease-fire to happen from Dec. 24 through Jan. 19, which is the 12th day of Christmas in the Orthodox calendar.

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Can Buddhists celebrate Christmas?

Can Buddhists celebrate Christmas?In Asia, Buddhism is one of the most influential religions – based on the beliefs, tradition and practices on the teachings of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha is said to have found enlightenment in the India and shared his insights among people to help them end their sufferings. Buddhism has its own culture and traditions expressed in accord with local customs. But sometimes the question arises: “Can Buddhists celebrate Christmas?”
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Muslims can and do celebrate a traditional Christmas

kheira benkada/Shutterstock

Nilufar Ahmed, Swansea University

In the classic festive film Miracle on 34th Street, character Kris Kringle declares that “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a state of mind”. If this is true, then it would appear that, for many in the UK, the current state of mind seems to be one that is laden with xenophobic tones.

Tesco recently released its Christmas advert showing families up and down the land coming together for Christmas. However, rather than taking inspiration from the supermarket giant’s “Everyone’s welcome” slogan, some viewers took it upon themselves to voraciously complain about a scene which shows a Muslim get-together on Christmas day.

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The meaning of Hanukkah in a multifaith society

Jewish MenorahAlthough Hanukkah has become the most interfaith friendly of Jewish festivals, with lightings in Parliament, messages from politicians, menorahs in public squares and even on top of cars, its fundamental message might be taken to be rather different.
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Reimagining Care: What will the future look like?

Reimagining Care: What will the future look like?The future is coming towards us daily: the problem of care in the future is also coming towards us daily. What if care is a core human competency and organising principle? What will our society, our families, our homes look like if this is the case? Want to write a letter to the future and share your vision of care as a core competency in human life 20 years from now? Read more…

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The Australian Traditions at Christmas & Faith Observances at Christmas

Interfaith Christmas Tree

Many faiths have observances around the time of Christmas – this often being the function of the lunar calendar, or fixed observances. As most of these observances began in the northern hemisphere, there is the aura of winter cold, snow, and decorations resembling the cold northern half of the world at this time. Australia, on the other hand, lies under the Southern Cross and frequently has rather warm and hot holidays at this time.

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