Chinese New Year – A Valentines Day with a Difference

Let me first start by wishing Chinese people all over the world a Happy New Year. That reminds me that I have been dumb enough not to wish both Jessica and Jeson today in office, who are the reason for my visit to the Nan Hua Temple here in Johannesburg to watch the celebrations. So better late than never.

Jessica … Wishing a Happy and prosperous New Year ahead to and your family.
Jason … May this new year of the Tiger bring in Happiness and well being into the lives you and your family.

If you independently look at this post, then you would never be able to guess that I am at Johannesburg. You would think that I am somewhere in Taiwan or somewhere in China.

This is one Valentine’s Day that I celebrated so differently that I was thrilled with myself to have made this choice.  (Update: My wife is upset !! :)) The Chinese New Year at the NanHua Temple in Bronkhorstspruit was to say the least absolutely awsome. It gave me a glimpse into Chinese culture that I was never before exposed to in my life. The experience as a whole has been truly exceptional.

The way to the temple is a 95kms beautiful drive through scenic landscape to Bronkhorstspruit. I started at about 8:00 am to reach the temple just in time for the first ceremony of the day called “Offering Light to the 1000 Buddhas”. The entering the temple, I was awe struck by the beauty and architecture of the temple.

CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT.

Snapshots of the NanHua Temple
In the background of the continuous chanting, I experienced a unique peace standing in that crowded temple. I was even more amazed at the sight of the Thee Gigantic Buddhas in the main shrine. After the chanting, people slowly started to go in a line to place the lamps in front of the statues and pray to Buddha. I also joined the line and offered my prayers to the Buddha.

The Massive Buddhas in the Main Shrine
I saw the Buddhas in the other temples around the main shrine, which were also equally beautiful and intricately created by the artisans. Presenting to you some of the beautiful ones that captured in my camera.

The Buddhas @ the NanHua Temple
After the lamp ceremony, the main celebrations began outside in the Temple Court Yard. It started with the Dragon and Lion Dance along and the Drum Majorettes. It was am amazing experience to watch the Dragon and Lion Dance live, which I had seen sometimes in TV.

Glimpses of the New Year Function Celebration (Dragon and Lion Dance)
There were some other activities that were happening at the same time around the temple complex which I managed to capture and present a snapshot to you in a collage form.
Other Temple Activities

Clockwise from the Top Left (Chinese Wishing Tree, Prayer Assembly, Chinese Tea Ceremony, Couple in Traditional Chinese Dress, Chinese Calligraphy, 3 Chinese wise men – Wealth Health and Longevity (Fuk, Luk, Sau).

There were lots of stalls around the temple courtyard selling everything from Chinese Food to Chinese Goods. I enjoyed some yummy Chinese snacks and sweets to end my celebrations.

In all it was a wonderful ceremony, that was lucky to experience here in Johannesburg. I could only tell you all that whenever you get a chance in life, please do visit a Chinese Temple atleast once to get a glimpse of what I could feel and you would know why the Chinese Cultures is among the richest cultures in the world.

View all photographs of my visit at Google Picasa

3 comments:

Poornima said...

We missed it ......God was not willing!

Nice pics and very short description...could've eloborated on wat u ate...lol

Anonymous said...

Excellent pics! And nice description and seriously, looking at the pics I would have thought your company had sent you to China or Taiwan!

Prashanth

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