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Assembly Title

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To learn about Confucius
To learn about the Chinese New Year
To learn about similarities between the sayings of Confucius, proverbs in the Bible and modern proverbs

Time of Year
Chinese New Year - late winter

1. Every year, we have New Year's Day on January 1st.
We have found out that the Chinese do not have their New Year's Day on January 1st.
In fact, they do not even have it on the same day every year.

2. The Chinese New Year always begins on the day of the second new moon after 22nd December. As new moons come at different times, this means that the Chinese New Year always falls sometime between the middle of January and the middle of February. This year, the Chinese New Year is on (date). If you look out of the window on that night, you should see a new moon.

3. This is a bit like our Easter. Easter is on a different day each year.
Again, this is to do with the moon. Maybe you could find out exactly how the date for Easter is arrived at.
Anyway, back to China.

4. The Chinese give every year an animal's name. This New Year will be the year of the (animal). Twelve animals are used, so the year (year) will again be the year of the (animal).

5. When we celebrate New Year, we sing Auld Lang Syne, standing in a circle holding hands. Some people set off fireworks at midnight, as the year changes. Many people make New Year resolutions. Also, many people carry on a tradition called "first-footing." They believe that they will have a good year if the first person through their door has dark hair and is carrying a piece of coal, so they ask just such a person to walk through their front door.
But, as our New Year is only a week after Christmas, we don't have the energy to do much more.

6. When the Chinese celebrate their New Year, the festivities can last for several days. Again, they set off fireworks, which indeed they invented. They spring-clean their houses. They pay all their bills.
They have dragon processions in the streets. They hang up colourful lanterns. They eat rich food and give each other presents. If you know any Chinese people, be sure to wish them a happy new year, on (day).

7. We are going to tell you about a famous Chinese man called Confucius. He is famous because he was very clever. He lived about 2500 years ago. This is about 500 years before Jesus was born, so Confucius was not a Christian. He did not talk about God, but he often talked about goodness.

8. He wanted people to be good, so he gave them rules to live by. We call these proverbs. A proverb is a short, wise saying, like "Look before you leap."
That is one of our proverbs, but the proverbs Confucius used are similar to the ones we have now.
They are also similar to the proverbs in the Bible. There is a Book of Proverbs near the back of your Old Testament. Maybe you could read some of it later.

9. The golden rule of Confucius was "Do to other people what you would like them to do to you." This is like the commandment Jesus gave us, 500 years later, "Love one another, as I have loved you."

10. Other proverbs Confucius gave us were:
When you are told to do something wrong, don't do it, even if your parents tell you to do it.

11. A bad government is more frightening than a tiger.

12. A clever man knows how much he knows - and how much he doesn't know.

13. When you see a good man, try to be like him.

14. When you see a bad man, think about whether you are bad or not.

15. Do not try to be the boss all the time. Just do your own job properly.

16. If you want friends, be friendly.

17. You should know how old your parents are. Love them, but realise that one day they will die.

18. Study as hard as you are able to.

19. If someone gives you a job, within three years you should have things running smoothly.

20. Gossip is evil.

21. Think about problems while they are still a long way off, or you will be worried when they come nearer.

22. Respect people who are younger than you. One day, they may be better than you. However, if they do not have a good reputation by the time they are 40 or 50 years old, you can stop respecting them.

23. As we said earlier, many of these proverbs are like the ones in the Bible, for example:
A wise man will hear and will increase his learning.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

24. They are also like modern proverbs, for example:
Pride goes before a fall.
Do as you would be done by.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
The Devil loves an idle tongue.

25. Try to think of some more proverbs yourselves - and remember to read the proverbs in the Old Testament.
But above all, at this time of the Chinese New Year, remember the golden rule of Confucius: "Do to other people what you would like them to do to you."

26. If you would like other people to be kind to you, you must be kind to them - or as Jesus said, "Love one another."
We will now sing "Let there be love" by Dave Bilbrough. (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 358)

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 17-7-12.