Sunday, January 29, 2017

Celebrating 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 solid 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 greatly influenced our culture and way of living.

Embracing the Chinese culture made a significant impact on our lives. Their beliefs, wisdom, and character are worth emulating. Chinese people have taught us how to live based on their life principles from the teachings of their religions. Buddhism brought to China, became a foundation of wisdom, humility, and compassion. These traits, which embody 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 symbolize love and respect for 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 passed on from generation to generation.

The Graceful Dragon and Lion Dance 

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

The lighting of firecrackers and fireworks

Lion dance with firecrackers lighting up on the street makes a joyous and wonderful celebration. During 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 in the new year. This kind of activity initially enjoyed by the Chinese was also adopted by Filipinos and the world — such a significant influence they had.

Ang Pao is a symbol of wealth and abundance

On the busy street is a parade of generous people giving away 'ang pao' to the visitors. These small red envelopes with money on them give luck to the receiver. Financial abundance is significant to the Chinese; a year filled with economic prosperity is a blessing from God. Being poor is a mental disease, and an abundance mindset is the key to success  a belief that brings wealth into our lives.

Chinese people hold many beliefs for personal, career, business, and life in general. Some ideas include a collection of round-shaped fruits for never-ending prosperity. Tikoy, a gelatinous delicacy, is very popular and symbolizes sweetness and a closer relationship with the family. Restaurants offering authentic Chinese foods, including noodles, dumplings, and other treats, are essential for good luck. What else is on the list? Feng shui for prosperity and Chinese martial arts are many influences from 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 prevent us from moving forward. 

Faith is essential for success; all the symbolism can bring prosperity if accompanied by hard work and perseverance.

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

© 2017 Del Cusay