Happy Lunar New Year!

This year was the first year that I didn’t do any of the family or community events that I’d planned to do. I didn’t travel north to visit family. I didn’t attend temple on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t eat the auspicious midnight meal or go temple hopping the next day.

Instead, I tried to do today what I’d like to accomplish on a normal workday. I began with meditation and exercise, continued with mindful and diligent work, shared meals with dear friends and now am writing about it all.

It would be easy for me to claim that Lunar New Year is not a “Buddhist holiday,” but it’s been very deeply incorporated into Buddhist practice. In fact, several Buddhist traditions have been so thoroughly incorporated into my family’s New Year practice that even non-Buddhist relatives follow them. I’m not even sure if they know it!

Elsewhere on the Buddhist blogosphere, Babara O’Brien writes about Chinese New Year, the IDP blog serves up a poem, while Wake Up and Laugh! provides a very touching story. From our nation’s government, you can see the New Year greetings from Secretary Locke, and also read thosefrom President Obama.

While often referred to as Chinese New Year, this New Year is also shared by Koreans and Vietnamese. There’s no arguing this holiday’s Sinitic roots, but for Vietnam—a nation that endured a thousand years of Chinese colonization—this holiday has a very unique spirit and set of traditions, separate from how it’s practiced in China. Not to mention that according to the Vietnamese calendar, this is the year of the cat!

May you have a most blessed, healthy, successful and happy year!