Chinese New Year has been celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam for over 20 years, commencing in February 1997. The Chinese Spring Festival, as it is also known, is a time for family and friends to pay homage in accordance with Chinese traditions and to wish each other good health and prosperity for the year ahead.
Around 500 SSIO members from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan gathered in Prasanthi Nilayam on 22 – 23 February 2018. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Honour Our Parents Everyday”.
The event was inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp and then an offering of devotion to the Divine Father was made by members dressed in traditional Chinese costumes. This was followed by mantras chanted by a monk from Indonesia and a talk about the teachings of Confucius on filial piety and its resonance with Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings to revere and respect one’s parents.
Over the two days, there was many heart-warming offerings, including devotional offerings; sharing of personal experiences by members from Indonesia and Malaysia; performances of Chinese songs and bhajans by the Sathya Sai Harmonica Ensemble, which comprises members from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore; songs by students from an Indonesian school; and cultural dances by children adorned in colourful costumes.
Additionally, there were instrumental performances on the GuZheng, a traditional plucked string instrument, and the Er Hu, a Chinese two-stringed fiddle. A mesmerising presentation of the ancient Chinese dramatic art of mask changing enthralled all participants as the performer rapidly and deftly changed the Chinese masks he was wearing.
Three shorts skits titled “The Cornerstone of Chinese Civilisation” depicted how parents should be respected and revered. This was superbly complimented by a song by Indonesian school children entitled “Kneeling Lamb”, whose words sweetly conveyed the duty of children to honour their parents.