Chinese New Year (CNY) is that time of year again among the Chinese communities where they welcome it with a bang. You can expect lots of fireworks in Chinatowns all over the Philippines. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. Thus year’s festivities will commence on February 16, 2018.
The dates CNY is celebrated varies year after year. Among the Chinese, the Lunar New Year takes place at the New Moon that falls between January 21 and February 20. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year cycle, coinciding with their animal zodiac – Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon.
This in turn tied with the 10-year cycle of heavenly stems that are based on the elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Water and Metal. This is why in every Chinese New Year, there is a different element partnered with an animal. This is then overlaid with the dates of the Gregorian Calendar widely used elsewhere. This CNY is the year of the Earth Dog. Astrologers or Feng Shui experts then assess what lies ahead for people born under these years.
If you want to know your fortune, go to this link.
What Can You Expect Every Chinese New Year?
CNY celebrations are always loud. You can expect firecrackers going off in Chinatown. The Chinese believe this will drive away evil spirits. As a word of warning, if your ears are sensitive, it is best to wear protection like ear plugs.
However, it is likely that the use of fireworks will be controlled with the firecracker ban in effect due to health and safety reasons.
Lion and Dragon Dances
They are a common sight every CNY. They usually come from martial arts or athletic clubs. They are invited or contracted to perform every time. They are said to bring good luck. Business owners invite them to perform at their establishments where they would place a red envelope called ang pao which the lion dancers get.
Dragons are considered good creatures and are said to bring good luck to those they visit. It is said that the roofs of buildings have curved eaves that allow dragons to rest there without falling off.
Red Envelopes (Ang Pao)
The “ang pao” is a red envelope that contains money. These are given out every CNY. The rule of the thumb in giving is the amount must always be even-numbered; the number 8 is ideal because it is the luckiest number. Odd numbers are bad luck and associated with funerals.
Like Christmas, gift-giving is a common practice in CNY. However, there are certain objects you cannot give as gifts because they are considered unlucky – handkerchiefs, timepieces, sharp objects, shoes, and mirrors.
This is also the time of year, a sweet foodstuff called tikoy (or nian gao) is given or sold in establishments.
Red is the color of the day. It is a happy and lucky color. It is also worn on birthday celebrations as well. It is also a practice to wear new clothes every CNY.
The Chinese New Year is a celebration that showcases Chinese culture at its best. If you want to experience this wonderful event, head on over to Chinatown this February 16! Expect Ongpin Street to have a carnival-like atmosphere.
Kong Hei Fat Choy!