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
Chinese New Year - late winter
1. Every year, we have New Year's Day on
We have found out that the Chinese do not have their New Year's Day on
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
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
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
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,
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
We will now sing "Let there be love" by Dave Bilbrough. (Celebration
Hymnal for Everyone number 358)