Welcome to the Hong Bao party where excited children filled the air with electrifying laughter, shrieks of delight and joy as they ushered in the Lunar New Year with a big bang!
This event that was much anticipated by the City Harvest Children’s Church (CHCC) kicked off with the children tearing into the hall once the doors were opened, promptly filling up all the seats in the auditorium. The program opened with a special Lo Hei session graced by the teachers and volunteers. Lo Hei or Lao Yu Sheng is the tossing of several ingredients on a dish, with each condiment signifying blessings and prosperity. Done as a cultural tradition, the Lo Hei session was thoughtfully incorporated into this year’s Hong Bao party as a bid to inculcate family value and to create awareness among the children about the significance and importance of keeping relevant cultural traditions intact.
This joyous mood was carried over to the next exciting program in the lineup, the favorite among the children — games and lucky draws! The children cheered, screamed and chanted slogans to support their friends. From peeling Mandarin oranges to shouting out loud ‘Bak Kwa!’ (barbeque pork slices) in one breath, the ‘battle’ between the teams ‘Power Star’ and ‘Super Star’ got the audience thrilled with excitement. The well-loved emcee of the day — Eileen Toh couldn’t help guffawing away when a spontaneous chant arose from the crowd led by a member of the J7 singing group, a creative rap sequence of ‘Bak Kwa!’ and ‘Hong Bao!’ (red packet).
Above and beyond the attractive prizes and lucky draws, underlying the Hong Bao Party was purpose of imparting to the children the very essence of the start of a New Year, that is, to honor one’s parents. In traditional days, on the first day of the new year, children will kneel before their parents and offer them a cup of tea. The significance of this act is one of honor and respect. In turn, the parents will bestow upon the children a red packet, significant of blessings for the new year. Although in modern time, many have done away with the practice of kneeling down and offering tea, the value of honor and respect for parents is something that needs to be kept intact from generation to generation.
During the sharing of the Word of God, Eileen and her team of workers and volunteers taught the children the ‘ABCs’ of honoring — that is, ‘Appreciate’, ‘Bless’ and ‘Communicate,’ using drama and picture slides to promote the value of respect and having a good attitude toward parents.
Nicole Liew, 10, commented, ‘I love the songs we sang and I learned a lot from the lesson to honor my father and mother. This is a very good Hong Bao party!’
CHCC had two sessions of Hong Bao Party on 17 January (11am & 1pm) to celebrate Chinese New Year. The turnout for each of the sessions was a total of more than 1,650 children and adults.