Christian View of Traditional Chinese Customs

Spring festival couplets
Spring festival couplets (photo:GospelTimes)

The Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is the liveliest and important traditional festival in China. The Spring Festival originated in ancient times and was officially set up as the first day of the lunar year in the Western Han Dynasty. Now, many customs of Chinese New Year still remained.

The literal meaning of the Spring Festival is to meet the arrival of spring. Everything changes from old to new. Many popular and ancient poems describe and glorify the Spring Festival. Nowadays though, we could hardly see the cultural and poetic elements of the Spring Festival.

The living standards of the Chinese have improved throughout the years. However, they almost can't live without their phones. On Chinese New Year's eve, they don't care about the Spring Festival Gala. They just watch their phones and grab red envelopes. They turn a blind eye to family and friends. They are busy chatting online.

When we Christians look at the traditional festivals that our ancestors have celebrated for thousands of years, we could find that the cultural elements behind them became fewer and fewer. However, the vulgar and brassy things such as idolatry thrive.

I still remember the days in the late 1980s. I was in my university at that time. The four children of my family all studied in different cities. In every Spring Festival, we would gather together and spend time with the family. We played chess and the piano. We sung and danced. We recited poems and wrote couplets. We also helped our parents prepare goods needed for the Spring Festival.

Now we have work and set up our own families, the Spring Festival has been fully secularized. We don't talk much with each other. We just play mahjong from the beginning to the end of the day.

My family and my mother now believe in God. So we don't play mahjong any more. My brothers and sisters are still busy grabbing red envelopes on WeChat. During the Spring Festival, all our relatives get together. My mother and I will preach gospel to them and take them to the church. Thanks to God, now half of them have accepted the gospel.

I know that in China, a large number of families are a similar situation. We lack nothing but our hearts are void. We know nothing about God and just indulge ourselves in sin. It is every Christian's responsibility to preach the gospel to relatives and friends during the Spring Festival. As a result, we can save more souls.

A couple from the northeast of China both work as pastors in the church. They have also adopted more than 30 wandering children. On Chinese New Year's eve, the Christian couple just settle down the children and drive around different streets. They pray for China in the deafening sound of firecrackers.

They pray that the Spring Festival was a guilty day of Chinese. They worship devils and offend God. The couple just prayed for God's forgiveness.

Traditional Chinese culture has a long and complicated history. So the essence and dross behind the culture continues to exist. In early history, we worshiped God. Later on, we stood on the side of pantheism and atheism.

As a Christian, we should know it clear that our history and culture derive from God no matter when and where this belief has started.

Many scholars have found that in ancient times, the Chinese insisted on theism. Kings conducted national policies according to the willingness of God, so many of them could govern the country with an open and wise attitude. Some Chinese kings even handed over their crown to those who have no blood relationship with them.

Some scholars have been committed to finding out the relationship between Chinese culture and the Hebrew civilization. They have made many achievements over this topic. For example, the well-known Chinese characters can show us that the ancient Chinese knew the Bible well. The Chinese character meaning "justice" is made up with the characters meaning "lamb" and "I" from the Hebrew Bible. Lamb sacrifices for me. This is the salvation of Jesus on the cross.

The character of "ship" is made up with the characters meaning "eight", "people" and "boat", pertaining to Noah's family who were saved on the ark. The character of "God" looks like a person praying in front of Jesus on the cross.

Mr. Tang Yao 's book "Letter of Pantheon" also interpreted the relationship between Chinese culture and Hebrew civilization. He believes that the God worshiped by the ancient Chinese has the same natural and moral attributes with God from the Hebrew's Bible.

The last emperor of the Qing Dynasty worshiped God in the Temple of Heaven until his death. The system of worshipping and dedicating to God has lasted for thousands of years. The Temple of Heaven is a strong proof of the blood relationship between the Chinese civilization and Hebrew civilization.

From the 16th century to the 19th century, some famous Western scholars such as Matteo Ricci and James Legge also proved that the God the ancient Chinese worshiped was very similar to God in the Bible.

It is a pity that Chinese have not only forgotten God; but, also regarded him as the God of foreigners in the development of Chinese history.

The Chinese changed their faith from theism to pantheism. Nowadays, most of them believe in atheism, which has led to the collapse of moral values and caused spiritual crisis.

However, all these won't change the noble status of God in ancient China or the close relationship between Chinese and God. God always loves the Chinese and blesses the revival of China.

Translated by Emma Ma

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