Let us look at some of the activities people indulge in during the Chinese New Year.
Eating is one activity we indulge in during the period of festivities over the Chinese New Year (CNY). People eat excessively. One of our tractor drivers visibly put on weight in just a short period during one of his CNY holidays. Once, my family had dinner with some relatives who also indulged in this same activity. My father, who is more health-conscious, advised them to be more discreet in eating. One of them just replied. “Eat first. Worry later.” The rest just laughed and continued in the binge. One of them lately died of diabetes. So, we should bear in mind our health when we eat.
With time on their hands during the holidays, people engage in gambling. Although gambling is not mentioned in the Five Precepts, Sigalovada Sutta tells us about the evils of gambling. I used to gamble as well and was even quite good at winning. I later decided to stop once and for all, as I thought, “If I lose, I would not be happy. If I win, I win the money belonging to others. I don’t feel good about that. So, if I gamble, whether I win or lose, I still wouldn’t be happy.” So, I said goodbye to gambling.
Watching television and films
This is an activity that is all right for lay people. Then again when you reflect back, we usually feel tired and lethargic after sitting down for a length of time watching TV or movies. So, it is not really that healthy an activity after all, is it?
Visiting relatives and friends
This is a gainful activity as it will help foster and maintain good relationships with family and friends. The Buddha did praise frequent meetings as a factor for the growth of a group. But do make sure that you’re meeting with the right kind of people. In any case, too much of such socialising can also be tiring.
Thus the new year period can be quite stressful and tiring. So what activity is not stressful?
Why not start off your new year with meditation, such as metta meditation? Then you will find that this will help you to be more mindful and to maintain a fresher state of mind throughout the day. Then all those festivities would not be so stressful and tiring.
May we have a mindful and joyful New Year!