On 19th February 2015 began the Chinese Year of the Ram. For the Chinese, the beginning of the lunar year, the most important festival of the year, is a family celebration. Everyone who can travels home to his family. This means about 2.8 billion trips.
For the Chinese living overseas it can be a difficult time. In Switzerland alone there are about 15,000 Chinese. Where do they celebrate this festival if they have no family in Switzerland? On Sunday, Feb. 22nd, the Mission House Bethlehem Immense invited Chinese people to a celebration. Traditionally the family commemorates the ancestors at the family altar.
As our Chinese guests arrived, they were greeted with a cup of sweet dumpling soup. After getting to know one another, a ceremony was held in the small chapel. After readings from the Old and New Testament, we offered up our petitions, and everyone wrote three prayers on a card: one for the ancestors, one for our family and one for oneself. Then incense, flowers, fruit and wine were offered in honour of the ancestors.
After lunch, we sat together for a long time, sharing with each other. All expressed their joy and gratitude that they could celebrate this family celebration together.