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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kung Hei Fat Choi! 恭禧發財


 Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year 2009 in Binondo, Manila
The Chinese New Year is not a legal holiday in the Philippines but still, the Filipino-Chinese communities celebrate it real big! The festive food, the lion and dragon dance in the streets, the drum beat and firecrackers mark the cheerful celebration. Here in Manila, the center of celebration is in Binondo and Ongpin, which we call Chinatown because it is where Chinese businesses stand since the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. There are Chinese restaurants, and stores that sell charms and traditional Chinese medicines.

Chinese New Year customs has influenced Filipino traditions and art in many ways. Even if they are not Chinese, they buy charm bracelets, figurines and artifacts that supposedly give prosperity, success and even a happy love life. Especially this year, it is the year of the rabbit. Many buy rabbit crystal figurines for good luck. Aside from wearing red clothes, they wear shirts with rabbit designs.

As I crawl over the web in my researches, I’ve learned about the mythical story behind the Chinese New Year celebration. They say that long ago, a mythical beast named Nian comes on the first day of each year to devour children and livestock. People would put food outside their doors for the monster believing that it would cease attacking people and livestock when it finds food to eat.

Then, one day they have seen the Nian beast has been frightened away by a child wearing red clothes. Since then, people have started to wear red clothes every first day of the year and have hung red lanterns on their doors and windows. They have also begun using firecrackers to drive the Nian away.

Since, then the beast Nian has never returned.

Thus, the tradition continues on up to this day.

Kiong Hee Huat Chai!

Below is You Tube video of Chinese New Year celebration in 2009:

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