Sunday, January 29, 2017

Celebrating the Chinese New Year 2017: An Auspicious Celebration


For centuries, Chinese immigrants from mainland China have established closer ties with the Filipinos. Since then, we have mutually embraced religious traditions and appreciated the rich culture and heritage that remains to be strong and lasting. Chinese merchants in the Philippines existed during the early years of civilization and became a great trading partner contributing to the robust economy and fortifying stronger relationships. Chinese people who have chosen to live and work in the Philippines were accepted by most Filipinos and they have brought massive influence to our culture and way of living.

Embracing the Chinese culture made significant impact in our lives. Their beliefs, wisdom and character is worth emulating. Chinese people have taught us how to live based on their life principles from the teachings of their religions. Buddhism which was brought to China, became a foundation of wisdom, humility and compassion. These traits which is embodiment of Buddhist philosophy are the same guiding principles on how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life; a better life worth living. 

Looking back, celebrating the Chinese new year 2013 was a memorable experience in Binondo, Manila. Known as the oldest Chinatown in the world, it has shown great transformation and preservation of Chinese-Filipino culture. The old and preserved houses and commercial buildings are a symbol of love and respect to its culture and heritage. For years, Manila Chinatown has given positive energy and vibrance to visitors and traders and they hold on to their beliefs that are passed on from generations to generations.

The graceful Dragon and Lion Dance 

Good luck and prosperity is attributed to the colorful dance presentation where dancers has to mimic the movement of a lion and a dragon; a mythical creature. Both symbolizes strength, wisdom and power in Chinese ideology. These dances are more popular during the Chinese new year, but it is also presented in various Chinese cultural, religious and political events. It is also a belief that these creatures ward of evil spirit and bring luck and fortune in business and life. Dancing graciously in a form of Chinese martial arts is a skill and it has entertained visitors for its graciousness.


Lighting of firecrackers and fireworks

Lion dance with firecrackers lighting up on the street makes a joyous and wonderful celebration. During the new year's eve, the street lights up with colorful fireworks and fireworks creating noise that is believed to drive away bad luck and attracts prosperity. The noise which irritates some is the same noise that brings wealth to the believers on new year. This kind of activity which originally enjoyed by the Chinese was also adopted by Filipinos and the world — such great influence they had.


Ang pao as a symbol of wealth and abundance

On the busy street is a parade of generous people giving away 'ang pao' to the visitors. This small red envelop with a money on it gives luck to the receiver. Financial abundance is significant to the Chinese and a year filled with financial prosperity is a blessing from God. Being poor is a mental disease and an abundance mindset is a key to success  a belief that brings prosperity in our lives.


Chinese people hold a lot of beliefs for personal, career, business and life in general. Some beliefs include collection of round shape fruits for a never ending prosperity. Tikoy which is a gelatinous delicacy is very popular and symbolizes sweetness and closer relationship with the family. Restaurants offering authentic Chinese foods including noodles, dumplings and other delicacies is a must for good luck. What else on the list? feng shui for prosperity and Chinese martial arts are some of the many influences brought by years of Filipino-Chinese partnership.

The year of the fire rooster in Chinese astrology will bring positivity to everyone. A hopeful year starts with having a positive mindset and clearing off negative past experiences that prevents us from moving forward. Faith is essential for success and all the symbolism can bring prosperity if accompanied by hard work and perseverance.

The Filipino and Chinese friendship will remain to be strong in years to come as we build trusting relationship with camaraderie and warm acceptance regardless of one's cultural upbringing and philosophical beliefs.


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