WHEREAS, The most important and popular of Chinese festivals, the date of the New Year celebration is fixed traditionally according to the Chinese lunar calendar as the second new moon after the winter solstice; and
WHEREAS, No one is certain how far back New Year celebrations go in Chinese history. Their religious background involves clearing away the back luck of the old year and beginning anew. It was also believed that the various god-like spirits had to report on the past year to the ruler of heaven, the Jade Emperor. Many Chinese still open the celebrations by burning a paper image of Tsao Wang, the hearth god, thus sending him on his way one week before the new year; and
WHEREAS, Usually on the day before New Year's Eve, men pay ceremonial visits to friends and associates, wishing them luck with the traditional greeting kung-hsi fa-ts'ai, meaning "Happy greetings and may you gather wealth." On the last day of the year, final preparations are made for the family's New Year's Eve feast, the highlight of the celebration. Before the meal, all doors are sealed with strips of paper to prevent the entrance of evil, and no one may enter or leave until these are removed shortly before dawn. After the meal, gifts are exchanged and, at midnight, solemn greetings and family ceremonies take place; and
WHEREAS, Traditionally, the festivities last 15 days until the Lantern Festival, a time for parades of elaborate paper lanterns and street dances by dragons or lions. New Year is also a time for giving alms to the poor and for eating special lucky foods; and
WHEREAS, Each Chinese year is popularly known by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. These names provide a ready reference because each is used only once in 12 years. This year will be celebrated as "The Year of the Rat."; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby recognizes the celebration of the Chinese New Year--"The Year of the Rat." This Senate also wishes to extend its deepest respect and appreciation to the Rhode Island Chinese community for all that it has contributed to the rich diversity of Rhode Island culture. The closeness of the traditional Chinese family, its dynamic work ethic, and its innumerable endowments to literature and the performing arts inspire us all; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Mr. Louis Yip.