Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year in the Philippines

Chinese_New_Year_Dragon

via philstar.com – The Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival which falls on Thursday this year, is celebrated not only by the Chinese community in the Philippines but also by other Filipinos who have been influenced by the Chinese culture and traditions through the years.

The celebrations gained added significance four years ago after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III declared the Chinese New Year as a nationwide holiday.

In November 2011, Aquino said the declaration of the Chinese New Year as a special non-working holiday would allow Chinese- Filipinos, locally known as Tsinoys, and Filipinos themselves to fully celebrate the Spring Festival.

The holiday “is a manifestation of our solidarity with our Chinese-Filipino brethren who have been part of our lives in many respects as a country and as a people,” said the president.

Aquino himself has Chinese ancestry. His mother, the late president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, came from the large Co-juang- co clan that originally came from Fujian province in southern China.

Even before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the early 16th century, Chinese immigrants have already settled in various parts of the Philippines.

Chinese-Filipinos are one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia.

Unofficial figures said while there are only about 1.5 million Filipinos of pure Chinese ancestry, or 1.6 percent of the population, Filipinos with Chinese descent comprise about 18 to 27 percent of the total Philippine population of over 100 million.

It is understandable, therefore, that Tsinoys have their presence felt not just in commerce and business but even in politics and other social, cultural and professional activities.

Because of their pioneering spirit and Confucian work ethics, many Chinese-Filipino families now control major business establishments in the country.

This will also explain why the traditional Chinese celebrations of the Lunar New Year is very popular not only in Manila but also in other urban areas in the country.

Just like in other parts of the world with large ethnic Chinese communities, the Chinese New Year is considered the single most important holiday among the Chinese in the Philippines.

The celebrations usually last for 15 days and culminate with the Lantern Festival. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. For 2015, it is the Year of the Sheep.

According to old-timers in the Binondo District, Manila’s Chinatown, the vigor and enthusiasm in the celebrations of the Chinese New Year have not diminished even with the passage of time.

During the Chinese New Year, there is a big parade of dancing lions or dragons that snake through the narrow streets and alleys of Binondo with participants dressed in colorful red costumes dancing to the sound of drums.

Such festive atmosphere is duplicated in other cities with big Chinese population, such as Cebu city in the Visayas and Davao city and Cagayan de Oro city in Mindanao.

During the celebrations, people in the streets and storeowners greet each other with “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai” in the Hokkien dialect or “Kung Hei Fat Choi” in Cantonese, which means “Congratulations and Be Prosperous” in the incoming year.

Of course, amid the noise and bustle, are the sounds of lighted firecrackers which, in the Chinese customs, would drive away the evil spirits and bring good luck in the year ahead.The food most locally looked forward to during the Chinese New Year is tikoy, a delicacy made from sticky rice. It has to be fried first before it can be eaten.

During the Spring Festival, everyone, especially the women, wear red dress, considered by the Chinese as a lucky color. Also during this occasion, children look forward to receiving fresh peso bills placed inside bright red envelopes, called “ang pao” in Hokkien, with Chinese characters written in it.

Storeowners usually put “ang pao” at the entrance of their stores so that dancers participating in the dragon parade can pick them up as New Year’s gifts for them.

Find more like this: Features

  • U.N. Rights Council to Investigate Killings in Philippine Drug War
  • Philippines declares national alert after 456 die from dengue fever
  • Trying to save the stories of a Philippine culture, one scan at a time
  • Pinoy archaeologist brings new human species discovery to Australia
  • Philippines a slowly ageing society – PIDS study
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

    Entertainment

  • Nickelodeon releases first look at rebooted classic kids program Blue’s Clues with Filipino-American host Joshua Dela Cruz
  • How Marvel’s first featured Pinoy superhero can save society
  • This play tells the urgent story of a Filipino comfort woman
  • Will ‘Sahaya’ be the first Pinoy series on Netflix?
  • Z-GIRLS, Z-BOYS with Pinoy members to debut in Korea
  • MORE...

    Features

  • My story, and the new story of Filipino immigration
  • An appreciation of Moro food can bring Pinoy Muslims and Christians closer, says this Muslim chef
  • Showcase of PH culture, heritage
  • US and Philippines: Friends, Partners, and Allies
  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • MORE...

    Tourism

  • Northern Blossom Flower Farm: Atok’s floral carpet
  • Philippines records ‘all-time high’ 7.1M tourist arrivals in 2018
  • Philippines island Boracay reopens for test run following huge cleanup
  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • MORE...

    Sports

  • Filipino speed skater bags spot in 2020 Winter Youth Olympics
  • Pinoy gymnast Carlo Yulo earns historic qualification in worlds
  • Finding a way to bring the NBA to the Philippines
  • First Filipino table tennis Olympian Ian “Yanyan” Lariba dies at 23
  • Skateboarder Margielyn Didal wins 4th gold for Philippines
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • Filipino maids’ dragon boat team makes splash in Hong Kong
  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • MORE...

    Environment

  • ‘Sordid Chapter’ Ends As Philippines Sends Back Canada’s Trash
  • Southeast Asia became dumping ground for plastic waste – study
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces