Pope Congratulates Asians for Lunar New Year

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II congratulated millions of Asians who celebrated the Lunar New Year, and hoped that it would be a year of peace.

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When he greeted the pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus, the Pope said the new year is celebrated especially by the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans “who live this holiday in the intimacy of the family.”

The Lunar New Year, celebrated Feb. 1, is ushered in with fireworks, prayers and traditional dances. It is the major celebration of Chinese communities throughout the world.

China estimates that trains, planes, buses and other means of transport in the country make some 1.8 million trips during this season. Some experts say it represents the greatest movement of people in the world in one period.

In his congratulatory message, the Pope repeated his words for the World Day of Peace, observed Jan. 1: “May the New Year be a period of peace, founded on four precise needs of the human spirit: truth, justice, love and liberty.”

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ZENIT Staff

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