By Christine Joy Relanes
Every country has its own unique way of celebrating and welcoming the approaching year. Despite our differences, we can’t hide the fact that we have the same hopes and wishes as we look forward to a blessed, and prosperous year ahead.
Filipinos celebrate New Year with various traditions and cultures accustomed to it. We wear polka dots to guarantee wealth in the coming year and buy 13 kinds of round and spherical fruits like oranges, pears, grapes, and many more, for we believe that round things will bring good fortune, prosperity, and a harmonious relationship to our family.
Chinese New Year Traditions
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is one of the most solemn events for the Chinese.
“Kung Hei Fat Choi”, is a Cantonese greeting which means “Wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”
The mandarin translation for this greeting is “Go Xi Fa Cai”.
The festival signals the beginning of spring and the start of a new year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
It was also believed that through this celebration, the Chinese were able to worship their ancestors, remove evil spirits, and have time to pray for a good and blessed harvest.
Chinese New Year in the Philippines is always celebrated with joy and happiness. Fil-Chinese people observe this with colorful fireworks and firecrackers in the belief that it will scare monsters and bad fortune. Dragon Dance and Lion Dance, meanwhile, are their traditional performances for a joyous festival and their way of praying for good luck.
On the eve of the celebration, the extended family would join around the table for a meal with many lucky foods they expect will bring prosperity, such as fish and dumplings. They also wear red clothes to go with the festive upbeat mood. Giving money in a red envelope is their way of giving best wishes. The red envelope is called “lucky money”. Red is a good luck color for the Chinese.
Our fellow Filipino-Chinese community also called “Tsinoy”, celebrate their New Year on January 31 to February 20, a multi-day event in which the last day is celebrated in accordance with the lantern festival.
Every household prepares delicacies that were made from Sticky Rice like “Bibingkas, Bikos, and Tikoys”—for it symbolizes strong bond and ties among family. Jumping and celebrating with loud noises when the clock strikes midnight are some of the traditions done by children and even adults.
There is no harm in following traditional practices, but we should keep in mind that praying, thanking the Lord, and hard work are still the best weapons that will give us good fortune in life.