Honourable Senators, I am pleased to rise today to bring greetings to all those who celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.
For people of Asian heritage living in Canada including those of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese descent, today is the first day of the Year of the Sheep, or as some would call it, the Year of the Ram, or the Goat.
The proper term of the zodiac sign has been debated for years.
However, in the Chinese language, we only have one word for Sheep or Ram or Goat, and it is called “yang”.
This word signifies warmth and creativity. In our greetings, we would insert the zodiac sign of the year, such as “Xi Qi Yang Yang”. It is a blessing to others for happiness.
The New Year is a time to gather with family and friends. It is a time to celebrate past achievements, and to look to the future with hope and optimism. Beyond the lion dances, lanterns and fireworks, the New Year is about family.
Many immigrants like myself, have relatives living on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Near or far, we observe this occasion by spending time with loved ones and honouring those who have come before us.
As a proud Senator of Chinese descent, I am also honoured to be invited to events across Canada in celebration of the New Year.
Honourable colleagues, I wish to thank all the event organizers and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to share their traditions and customs with fellow Canadians.
Multiculturalism is at the heart of what makes Canada the greatest country in the world. We value diversity and openness, and we are grateful for the freedoms we enjoy to celebrate this festive occasion.
In closing, I would like to once again wish you and your family a healthy, happy and prosperous Year of the Sheep.
Thank you, Merci!
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