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AN ACCOUNT OF THE FESTIVITIES AND OBSERVANCES OF THE
CHINESE NEW YEAR.
BY J. 8. HUDSON.
The Chinese stated seasons of recreation | the tokens. All this stir and activity is preare far more numerous than ours. The liminary to the new year. Idolatry and autumnal and vernal equinoxes, the summer debasing superstition is entwined with everyand winter solstices, third month and third thing this people do. I could not but reflect day, fifth month and fifth day, seventh that the heathen amongst whom I was dwellmonth, from the 1st to 15th, ninth month | ing, though they showed activity, life, and and ainth day, with the birth-days of many devotion worthy of a better cause, were in of their deities, are some of the periods when reality dead, corpse-like masses. How de. this 'too superstitious' people practice their plorably ignorant of the life and immortality gross and sinful worship. There is no of the Gospel! How basely subject to falseperiod however, which is more universally hood and sin!. Living, yet surrounded by, kept than the first day, and the first few and in the actual performance of, that which days of the new year. On this occasida kept their souls within the precincts of the idolatry, feasting, and congratulations, be gates of death, and would bring on them come the business of all, bigh and low, man- eternal misery. And this because they were darines and people. Notwithstanding this, totally ignorant of the liberty wherewith everything and everybody have a formal, the gospel has made us free. Well may serious exterior at least, instead of that free ignorance have as its distinguishing epithet and smiling openness which would be a better the word “darkness.' 'Darkness shall cover characteristic of the season.
the earth, and gross darkness the people : The contrast between the last day of the but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his old year and the first of the new, is very im. glory shall be seen upon thee, and the Genpressive. The exclamations which aptly tiles shall come to thy light, and kings to characterised the impression made on my the brightness of thy rising.' mind, as I passed through the streets of this The first day of the Chinese new year precity wholly given to idolatry,' on my way sents a scene which astonishes one who has to our chapel previous to the new year, were, been accustomed to see them pursuing their what a sight! how sickening! how lamenta- business without cessation. He would think ble! how sinful! I met crowds upon crowds that the Chinese en masse had been transform. of men, almost all of them bearing on their ed into one of the ever changing forms of the shoulders, or carrying in their hands, the metempsychosis. With a few single excepthings which they had purchased for their tions all the shops are closed. Trade and la. new year feasts. The things which they bour of all descriptions have ceased. The articarried consisted of incense sticks, paper san who the previous evening would hardly money in the form of ingots of silver and have been recognized through the dust which gold, candles, new papers with the picture of disfigured him, now paces the streets in a rich the furnaca.god, door-god, &c., on them, red tasseled cap, and a long flowing dress of which they bought to put up in the place of silk and fur. The aged merchant who is the old, and many other things which aro dressed decently always, has now a lavish used in the idolatry of this pagan people. expensive costume, and seems to take great Of eatables everybody carried a piece of pork pride in being followed by his sons, grandat least, besides some had hams, fowls, fish, sons, and perhaps great-grandsons, in producks, geese, mutton, cakes, biscuits, &c. cession, to worship the idols at the city temAll these are first offered in sacrifice to hea ple. The literary man who may have ob. ven and earth, before they are eaten by the tained the first or second degree, directs his people. The streets were excessively throng. steps to the same place, with his cap proudly ed by purchasers of these things, and by the decorated by the aristocratic distinction-a numerous servants of shops going about brass button. The very poorest, who can from one customer's house to another, to de. boast of none of these outward tokens of mand payment for the goods obtained at respectability, either pay a very short visit to their shops during the last quarter. Here the temple, or else pass the day in the enjoyand there I saw a man worshipping at the ment of that sleep and rest of which many niches of the gods of wealth. On the stone were deprived the previous night. The torn grates of these niches I noticed pieces of papers of exploded crackers were plentiful straw and bits of string, tied by men who everywhere, but literally covered the stone had made vows, of which these trifles were slabs of some streets. As regards external
appearances, closed shops, the people neatly times in all. The whole is concluded by the attired, the quietness of the whole scene, the command Thae pan, retire in order. A small absence of indecorum, and not the slightest quantity of incense was all I saw placed beexhibition of levity, all combined to force fore the tablets. Such was the worship we the thought on my mind, that I saw in its saw paid to tablets in the dawn of the first minor external characteristics at least, the morning in this Chinese new year. As we future christian Sabbath in China.
knew it would be performed again at the I will now proceed to narrate the events city temple, we immediately proceeded of the day. We arose early in the morning thither, after we had handed to the mandaand proceeded to the Confucian temple, near rines a few of our tracts. In the city temple, the Salt-gate, for the purpose of witnessing we spoke to a large crowd of people, and the prostrations of the government officers to distributed several hundreds of tracts to the the Tablets of Confucius and his seventy numerous idolatrous votaries who were predisciples. One by one, as daylight approacb- sent. After the lapse of some time the man. ed, the officers came with muffled gongs, darines made their appearance. The worand dumb criers, leaving their chairs without ship of these idols was a ceremony fraught the gate. The officers assembled were, as fol. with far more serious consequences than the lows, the commanders of the nine military adoration paid to Confucius. At the latter cantonments of this city, the magistrate, the no one was present but ourselves and the prefect, the general, and the admiral, the inferior servants of the officers. In the city two last are Manchus. To the first officer temple a large number of people were col. that came we addressed a few words and lected who were witnesses, and when the gave tracts, but as he did not invite us into ceremony was over, imitators of the public the room where they sat, we spent the time example set them by the representatives of with their servants and underlings, to whom their sovereign. Only two prostrations and
addressed some religious instructions. six knockings of the head were made to the By and bye a cup of tea was handed to each idol however, thus a marked difference was of the officers, who took their cups and shown in their political estimation of the sipped the tea simultaneously. The general rank and superiority of the two-the idol and admiral were tbe great ones, and every and Confucius' tablet. thing they did was servilely imitated by Such is the state worship of China. No their inferiors. After a mat and furs had reflections can add any weight to the simple been spread in an open court before the tab. statement of such a fact. The Chinese are lets, they came out to perform the Routow. slaves both spiritually and physically, though Here again fulsome ceremony produced a the thunderings of the vox populi of China ridiculous scene. The general and admiral are frequently more effectual for the realisastood mutely opposite each other for some tion of partial liberty, than the famed constitime, neither in his excessive respect daring tutions of the lands of freedom. To the vox to move a step before the other, and the populi of China we would say, to the whole difficulty was only overcome by each tacitly world we would say, assenting in the same mute way, to compro. mise their bonour by mutually advancing a
'Spirit of freedom, on,
And pause not in thy flight, step at the moment. There was
Till every clime be won nothing which gave me a better idea of the
To worship in thy light. vulgar word sheepishness than this farce.
Then where the mountains sink, Neither spoke, neither moved. The slavish
And where the valleys rise, ceremony allowed them only the language of
The beacon lights of liberty looks, which though of some
Shall kindle to the skies,
use, was evidently a failure in this instance. It fail. ed to give precedence to either of them, and therefore they could only advance together. LETTER FROM REV. C. LACEY. They ranged themselves in ranks, the one on the right of the porch, and the other on the
PASTORAL Visits, &c. left. An underling then called out in a loud voice the order and the number of their
Cuttack, August 31st, 1850. prostations as follows:
MY DEAR BROTHER GOADBY.-I informed The first command is Tseu wei, advance you two months ago that I should write to to your places. 2nd. Seu leih, stand in or- you before long, and I feel disposed to attend der. 3rd. Pae, prostrate yourselves. 4th. to my promise by the mail which leaves in Kow show, knock your heads. 5th. Isae a few days hence. I fear you feel ere this kow show, again knock your heads. 6th. that you have received sadly too much from Yeu kow show, again knock your heads. me in that long letter containing some 7th. Hing, arise. The prostrations are three account of our journey to and from Conferin number, and the knocking of heads is ence: and suppose you do not complain now three times at each prostration, or nine of the paucity of matter from me. I received
your last; and quickly circulated it. Many caste before he became a christian. A very thanks for all its information, for all the respectable young man has given up his interest it evinces in us and our work; and caste, and has become a disciple of Christ. for all the affection it breathes. It contained His wife has juined him, and I have now in a bit of something good for us all, and for hand a letter for his mother and sister, exsome time afterwards we all wrote and talked horting them to follow his example, and I about our feast. It is useful to us, and we suppose they will do so. To day they are like to be told that our immediate friends all to be expelled caste, but more than this are still not uninterested in us,-that they their enemies cannot do. The boast of the bare not forgotten us,-that they still love gowras is now at an end ! us and earnestly pray for us. Next to the I had resolved to give you a history of my last approval of God it is pleasant to feel that visit to that little prosperous rural christian they have the approval of his people. Their colony known by the term Choga, or the sympathy, their good wishes, and their pray- six villages, but properly called Udayapur; ers, are supporting and stimulating. Many however I understand that brother Brooks of those with whom I was personally ac- has done so, and I therefore will fill up my letquainted are gone into eternity; and most ofter, which must be light, as this is the day of those who now support the Orissa mission grace, the last possible day for the mail, and are unknown to me. Nothing on earth, ex- may perhaps write you an account of my cept the work which engrosses my heart, visit to Udayapur, which I am intending to would be more gratifying to me than to come make next Lord's day. There is more sim. over to you, and assure our friends of the plicity and fewer forms of sin prevalent in the importance of their labours in the mission country than there are in the city, and reliary department-to assure them of the good gion flourishes better. Besides, the people that has been done and is now doing. I are agriculturists, and cannot do more with feel that I should have my energies taxed, hand labour than just get their rice and and should then be far below the merits of cloth; and this is a great advantage, for a my theme. But I cannot come to make hindoo cannot bear to get rich. In place of their acquaintance; I cannot leave my field, a visit to Choga, walk with me on my pagmy work, or the church which is collected toral round on Friday last. I arose at halfaround me. At present I can only ask you past five, and ere I was out of my bed-room, to make my affectionate salutation to the our friend S-, a captain in the 30th. M. friends in Wood-gate particularly, the sup- N. I., and his young and pious and excelporters of the mission generally, and ask lent wise were at the door. They had had them not to be weary in well-doing. They have their morning ride already, and had called to already reaped much, but they will soon reap see how we all were, and to talk over a few much more. The tree of life is planted in matters. Captain S. -, is collector and Orissa, and its healing influence is exten- treasurer of our pastor's sund, which has sively felt. A tract of jungle has commenced been very helpful to us in starting our nato be cleared; but we must still labour; we tive converts in some way by which to get must, as the Hindoos say, root up as well as their salt and rice, or their bread as we cut off, or else what was cut will soon be re. should say in England. The fresh air in placed by vigorous shoots from the living this land of the sun, must be taken in the roots. We must plough, sow, and water our early morning, for by eight o'clock it befield, and then in the reaping time we shall comes very hot. My first visit was to a poor gather an abundant crop. A meeting of woman in Lacey-naggar, a christian village 2000 brahmins has een lately convened, to of ours. She has been bad of rheumatism for judge and punish some young Baboos, or six weeks, and cannot get off her wretched rich young native gentlemen, for drinking floor mat. She is not a serious woman, and wine and eating beef. But they have gone so a few words were directed to her. Bellaway disappointed, for the young men told gowri nia, or, well mother of gowry, (the them they should still eat beef, and did not wives of Hindoos are called by the name of regard any more either the Bades, the Shas. their son or daughter if they have one, other. tres, or the Brahmans. Hindooism has wise bhow, or wife; never by their name) been shaken to its centre. These young your body is heavily afflicted with pain, but men have taken refuge under the liberty of have you no thought about your soul?' 'O conscience law, which has recently passed sir, I am a poor ignorant woman, what do I the legislative council. I am happy to say know about a soul. I explained its capa. that christianity has to day had a very sig. bilities to her, and set forth its danger in nal triumph in Cuttack. Our converts are consequence of sin, and pointed out the from many castes, from the Chandal to the Saviour, begging her to attend to these high twice.born, the brahmin; but we have things. not yet had a gowra, a person of the cow. My next visit was to the house of a very herd caste, a very good caste in Orissa. We violent woman, who has succeeded in master. have had a gowra, but then he had lost ing her husband, and who had been quarrel, ing with a peaceful and pious neighbour. | say; it is for your good ; why should I con. I had been appealed to, and must settle the cern myself about you otherwise.' Here affair. I have had frequent similar appeals follows a little talk about better things with against the same person before, and therefore Moses' wife, in which he also is referred to, must be severe. Well, Lockshmee bring me closing with a little advice. your agreement for this house and land.' My next move is to Society-poor, another Lockshmee brings it me with great reluct- christian village, which honours our society ance, and I read, 'I Lockshmee agree to pay by having adopted its name. The first two rupees a year for the half acre of ground place was Mark's house. He has an old which I occupy to the sabib, and if I mother and a young wife. The mother is a violently disagree with my neighbours, or member, and we believe a good woman; lie, or steal, or talk filthy language, or com. Mark is a careless and graceless lad, but his mit adultery; then I agree that the sabib little wife is seriously inclined. • Well Kou. may come and turn me out of his christian sali, how do you feel your mind to.day?' village at twelve o'clock in the day, and I 'Sir, I am very unhappy.' 'Why are you will not complain. (Signed,)
unhappy ?' I am a sinner.' • What is
LOCKSAMEE.' siu ? Breaking the Ten Commandments Well, Lockhi, you have been calling the is sin.' 'Repeat them.' Here she repeats. wife of B. a bad woman, and a deal more: "Well Kousali, whom have you robbed, you must go out, or I shall direct your neigh- whom have you murdered, &c. ?' 'None bours to turn you out as you have said they sir; but though I have not openly done may. Lockhi can say nothing: her anger these, I have had a disposition to do so, and is now over; and her husband comes up God judges the beart.' "Who told you this, and turns intercessor. "Sir, every one knows Kousali?' 'Jesus Christ. •And what is your mercifulness; you are the father of us the fruit of sin, Kousali?' • Eternal hell.' all; let there be an order passed for this ‘And how can sin be removed Kousali?' noisy woman's forgiveness. The man is a 'Jesus Christ died to atone for sin; he died good man and a member; and Lockhi stands for me, and if I believe in him, I think I crying, and I am disarmed. I say, 'Well, it shall be saved from sin.' 'Do you pray, must be as B's wife says: if she will forgive Kousali ? 'Yes.' "What do you think of you, and you promise to do so no more, then sin, Kousali?' 'Sir it is a very bad thing.' I am willing. The husband had been to B's in this way half-an-hoor was spent with wife, and bad got her to forgive the woman; Kousali; and she received instruction and and so she is called in consequence. “Tre encouragement. In paying such sort of visits, bane, have you forgiven this woman for so in which all sorts of business was to be grossly and falsely abusing you ?' Yes, attended to: as comforting the afflicted, cen. papa, I have; she is sorry now, and says suring the idle and abusive, directiog the enshe wont do so any more; so please let her quirer, and warning the hardened, I spent be forgiven. How can she be turned into the day till four o'clock in the afternoon, the streets in the middle of the rains?' Two when I was well tired, and called at the or three witnesses are appealed to, and house of our friend adjutant Smith, to rest. Lockhi is forgiven on promise of better con. Oct. 2nd., I have no time for more pow, duct; and I proceed to the house of Moses. and it is dark hour. I have just heard that
• Well Moses, why are not you gone to the Donation has been abolished, and that work to day? Now do you mean to sup- there is a notice posted on the door of Japort your wife and family? 1f you dont, gannath's temple to that effect. The raja is and shake off these idle habits, Moses, you to be allowed to collect a free.will tax within will be ruined, and become offensive to every the temple. I fear this news is too good to body. Moses, I shall set my face against be true. I have written to the commissioner you if yoa wont work, and therefore look to ascertain, but he delays a reply, and these ont.' Moses drops bis head and says, "Sir, letters must go. We have had a serious loss you are the shepherd of the church, and here. Our valuable and much-loved nativo pray consider that I have been brought up brother Bamadabe is dead. He died like a in the boarding school; I have grown up in christian; resigned to the will of God. He the shade, and how con I now work in the has been a preacber about seventeen years,
Get me, Sir, if you please, a door. keep and a christian about eighteen. About my er's place, or a bearer's place somewhere, and own family I have not now time to tell you. then I can work.' Moses, nobody will have I have three, and they are all at home. I am you for a bearer, and I would not if I could, expecting some employ for the eldest, Carey, get you the idle place of a door-keeper. The something in the way of translation of gov. fact is Moses, you are fitted for nothing but ernment regulations. The government have day work, and that you must do. Go into offered it to me, and I have accepted it for my compound and work there for a month, my son. I of course shall have to be reand you will by that time have learned to sponsible till he can do well without me. bear the sun.
Come Moses, mind what I We are all pretty well; have a baptism next
COMMUNICATED BY REV, J. BUCKLEY.
Lord's-day, and so has Bailey at Khundittur. | sionaries on their frequent visits to Choga, We have twelve candidates at Cuttack, ten has been erected. The landscape, as seen more at Choga, and hope to have baptisms from the verandab, is at this season lovely : at both places during Conference in Novem. it reminded us of English scenes, and sug. ber. Farewell. Ever yours affectionately, gested pleasing thoughts of the great and
C. LACEY. good Being who blesseth the springing of
the corn, who crowneth the year with his goodness, and whose paths drop fatness ;'
and as on the other side of a little stream, A SABBATH AT CHOGA.
which is much swollen in the rains, were seen lovely green fields,-it led one of us to
repeat a part of one of Dr. Watts's fine MRS. BUCKLEY was with me and greatly
hymns, enjoyed herself. The journey was much less "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood difficult than is usually the case in the rainy Stand drest in living green.' season, owing to there not having been any But the swelling flood' that was near us, heavy fall of rain for several days. The unlike the Jordan, is unknown to song; and sail across the Mahanuddee was very de- the fields that delighted our vision were not lightful; and the road through the rice fields,
so lovely as those of the pleasant land, though there was no lack of mud and water, which an unbelieving race despised.' was not so bad as it often is, so that we
The manner in which the Lord's-day was reached the mount' by the line of sunset.
spent, realized the pious prayer with which I always visit our poor christian people here
we often hail its happy dawn, with much pleasure, and often admire what the grace of God has done for many of them.
* In holy duties let the day,
In holy pleasures pass away.' Their number has greatly increased since I first visited them, shortly after my arrival in The morning prayer meeting was well atIndia. Many of them, I have no doubt, tended : I counted about forty there ; five or
owe their ownselves,' as it regards this life, six offered prayer, two of them especially to the blessed influence of our holy faith : with a propriety and feeling which reminded the grinding oppression of the rajah, if they us of the odifying manner in which we have had remained idolators, would probably ere
beard plain but warm-hearted christians at this bave cut off many of them in the midst home engage at the prayer meeting. I alof their days.* The abject poverty in which ways liked a good, soul-quickening prayer. they came, has given place to comparative meeting-and I do still; and I assure you it comfort; comparative, I mean as to their is deeply interesting to hear those who once former condition ; for as compared with the worshipped stocks and stones, possessed of benefits with which Providence loads’many the spirit of adoption, cry, Abba Father, and of us, their comforts are still few and scanty. address the throne of mercy in a manner There is an air of comfort and cleanliness which shews that the sacred exercise is to about many of their humble habitations, them not a strange thing. At half-past ten wbile here and there the little garden near
an experience meeting was held: a word of the house presents a pretty appearance; and exhortation, founded on 1 Peter v. 9, “Whom though in so large a community no general resist, steadfast in the faith,' was delivered ; remark can be made applicable to every one,
and as the devices of Satan, and the manner yet I think, on the whole, they are indus- in which he should be resisted, were some. trious and hard working ; while a goodly what enlarged upon, it left less time for the number, I trust, rejoice in bope of a better other part of the service, which was however life beyond the grave. An unhappy prone- of a pleasing and useful character. Pursua, ness to quarrelling is one of the sins which the ministering brother at this place, was easily beset a converted native; and from the first to speak. He had been in the city this our friends here are not exempt; but of destruction; but by the grace of God he they are happily free from many of the noxi- had been delivered from it. Referring to ous influences which largely affect the iu.
the time when he began seriously to think habitants of a considerablo city like Cut- of leaving his idolatrous connections, and tack. I forget whether I have told you, but uniting with the Lord's people, be said,I think I have not, that the small, delapi. how many fears agitated his bosom at that dated, inconvenient, mud habitation in which, time; and he mentioned it with thankful. in former days, we were obliged to lay our
ness to the Lord that none of those fears had heads, has been taken down, and a new and been realized. Since he had known the comfortable bungalow for the use of the mis. grace of God in truth, he had lacked no good
thing. He daily felt his weakness much, * A faithful recital of the exactions to which
but had recently derived much comfort from the subjects of these Hill Rajahs are subjected, thinking of Rom. viii. 35, 'Who shall sepawould startle many of your readers.
rate us from the love of Christ? shall tribu