Honourable senators, tomorrow marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Horse. This festive occasion, also known as the Spring Festival, is the biggest and the most important holiday of the year for many cultures in East and Southeast Asia. Millions of people living in China, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and my birthplace of Singapore gather with family and friends to ring in the new year.
Back at home, Asian communities across Canada are also observing the traditions and customs associated with this special occasion. We look forward to a year with an abundance of fortune, intelligence and good health. We take this time to reflect on past achievements, to sweep away the bad luck, and to inject a sense of optimism and hope for the year ahead.
In the past few weeks, I have attended numerous new year celebrations in the Greater Toronto Area with many of my Senate and House of Commons colleagues. More events are taking place across the country in the weeks ahead. I invite all honourable senators to take part in these celebrations and experience the richness of our multicultural society.
This year, the horse is significant among the 12 zodiac signs. It signifies strength, energy and leadership. In the Chinese culture, it is customary to wish others good health and good fortune. And with the Year of the Horse, it is fitting to include the horse when you greet somebody, such as Yi ma dang xian, meaning, "You will be the first out of the gate and leading the way."
Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you, as well as Canadians from coast to coast to coast, a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year.
Gong xi fa cai. Thank you.
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