Chinese New Year: Traditions for Wealth and Prosperity
Philippine Tatler celebrates wealth and prosperity with these Chinese New Year traditions for the Year of the Wooden Sheep.
A Powerful Presence
Be amongst family and friends and catch the Lion and Dragon dance in your nearby Chinese neighbourhood. The loud sounds emanating from the banging of drums and cymbals are said to deflect negative chi, while the powerful presence of the lion and dragon will chase away evil spirits and attract good luck. Accompany the dancing with the cracking of fireworks to ward off those bad ghosts. At home, keep the lights on the entire night to keep the festive mood in all corners of the house.
Catch a special Lion and Dragon dance performance on February 18, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, and 19, from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Sofitel Manila. For enquiries, contact +632.832.6988
To welcome the New Year with the right attitude, wear brand new clothes to signify a fresh start in life. Clothes in the shade of red are known to be especially lucky since the colour wards off evil spirits and also gives a festive look to the wearer.
Money is King
Children are especially lucky this time of year since parents and grandparents normally give out red envelopes, or ang pao, containing money in an attempt to bring more blessings to them. However, recipients of such envelopes should keep their excitement at bay and remember that it is impolite to open them in front of the givers.
Remember your Ancestors
As the dawn of spring and a new year in the Chinese calendar approaches, be sure to also share these moments with loved ones that have already passed on. Offer them auspicious food and relay your prayers and messages of thanks by lighting a joss stick or incense.
The nian gao or tikoy (literal meaning: “year cake”) is a must-eat during Chinese New Year celebrations, as the second word, gao, sounds the same as the Chinese term for "tall" or "high." Thus, the cake signifies achieving greater heights in the coming year. Also, the tikoy is best shared with loved ones since its stickiness and round shape symbolise unity.
Another lucky treat for this time of the year is the Chinese dumpling, or jiao zi. The dumpling is shaped to resemble that of ancient Chinese gold currency, symbolising wealth and good fortune.
The fish, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of abundance as its term yu sounds like the Mandarin word for "surplus." Families may enjoy their fish dish in any way they like, as long as the whole fish remains intact before they dig in.
Lastly, noodles such as the egg misua are thought to signify longevity, and are staples in all kinds of Chinese celebrations. Remember to have them prepared unsevered as the length of the noodles are said to represent the eater’s life.
The Chinese New Year is not only a celebration of the coming of spring for the Chinese, but it is also a commemoration of a spiritual nature that is shared by entire families and friends. May the year bring you more blessings, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Photo of food offering from nationsonline.org