Denver Temple Stays Up to Kick Off Year Of Ox

January 26, 2009

Author: Sally S. Ho

Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Denver Post,7690,0,0,1,0

Brushed in thick black ink on red pieces of paper, the Chinese characters read "Earnest cultivation yields fruitful harvests."

The Buddhist blessing was taped along each door at the Denver Buddhist Cultural Society and temple for Chinese New Year.

The 15-day celebration that began on Sunday is noted as the Chinese or lunar new year. Today marks the start of the year of the ox.

"We will have 200 to 300 people here tonight to pray," said Happy Hsu, an assistant at the temple. "Approximately 400 people will be here for the celebrations throughout the night."

The dinner is a hearty vegetarian dish called a "hot pot" cooked by the monks and volunteers at the temple. The free dinner began immediately after the prayer ceremony led by the master monk, Venerable Chueh Sheng.

"In the praying ceremony, we chant, sing, bow three times and pay respect as we invite the thousands of Buddhas to bless the new year, for world peace and a stable economy," she said.

The 15-year-old temple offered games and lucky draws, along with a traditional lion and dragon dances and other festivities scheduled to last past midnight to usher in the new year.