Lunar New Year in Fo-Guang Shan

About Fo-Guang Shan Monastery

Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Venerable Master Hsing Yun founded Fo Guang Shan in 1967. Since then it has evolved from a mountaintop bamboo forest to the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Master Hsing Yun has inspired the selfless devotion of over 1,000 monastics as well as the ardent support of many lay devotees to assist him in bringing confidence, joy, hopes, and providing service to countless others. [Read more]

The 2010 Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year does not fall on a specific date on the western calendar, and in 2010 it happens to fall on 14 February, which is the same date as the western Valentines day.

2010 is the year of the Tiger, it’s third in order of the Chinese zodiac:

  • Chinese name – HU (虎), sign of courage
  • Western counterpart – Aquarius
  • CHARACTERISTICS – Courage, Vehemence, Self-Reliance, Friendliness, Hopefulness, Resilience, Vanity, Disregard

Celebrating the 2010 Chinese New Year in Fo-Guang Shan Monastery

When I was just a kid, my family used to take us on a family trip to visit this monastery; I can’t believe it has been 25 years already since our last visit! Now I have my own family, and I am having the opportunity to take them for a visit!

We are blessed with 2 beautiful days, the atmosphere was filled with the New Year joy, in which I have not felt in such a long time…  the mountain was packed with visitors coming from all over Taiwan and abroad. We are very lucky to have managed to book our accommodation prior to arrival, as it is hard to come by during this festive season.

We arrived in the afternoon on the 13th; upon arrival we can see that everyone at the monastery was busy tidying up, to get ready to celebrate the 2010 Chinese New Year. The yards and garden are kept immaculately, and it is interesting to see that traditional bamboo brooms are still being used at the monastery!

Sweeping the steps of Fo-Guang Shan Monastery
Sweeping the steps of Fo-Guang Shan Monastery
Reverents tidying up the gardens of Fo-Guang Shan
Tidying up the gardens of Fo-Guang Shan Monastery

New Years Eve Dinner (圍爐)

During the Chinese New Year’s Eve, families & friends gather together to enjoy a nice big meal, and each other’s company, it is called ‘wei-lu’ (圍爐), meaning ‘gathering around the stove’.

Having ‘wei-lu’ with 6000+ people is such an experience, yet I can’t imagine the hard work that is required preparing a meal for 6000+ people! I managed to sneak into the dining room for a photo opportunity before dinner commences, you can see below how each dinner box is lined up perfectly, and that everything is in good order!

Preparing for the New Year's Eve dinner
Preparing 'Hot Pot' for the Chinese New Year Dinner

While having the world’s best vegetarian meal, the performances on stage is about to start. The MC commences the show by saying “We are honored to have the President of the United States here with us tonight, let’s welcome president ‘Obama’ to give us a few words”. The Obama look-a-like person below is not actually Obama, but an orphan who was brought up in the Fo-Goung Da-Chi Orphanage.

Dinner time entertainment - President 'Obama' is here to give us a new year speech!

We woke up to the sound of the gong in the morning, followed by the soothing sound of chanting from the morning service at the main shrine. We got ourselves prepared to get ready to take a full day of orientation around the monastery.

3 Giant 2.7m mascots symbolising "Doing good deeds, speak good words and bear a good heart"
Baby Buddha riding white elephant, and the tiger Lantern marching on

Below is a gallery showcasing the festival

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More Info

For more information on the Fo-Guang Shan Monastery, please visit the official site:

Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

February 24, 2010 at 8:39 am

interesting and well written article with great pics!

February 24, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Joseph KuThanks Yiyi, I thought a well taken pic speaks a thousand words, so I am hoping to tell a story using minimal words~ glad you liked this post!