If you think that Chinese celebrates New year during the first of January, well you are wrong. This 2017, Chinese people will be celebrating spring festival this January 28 and for them, this is a very important holiday and chance for gatherings of families.
So why is it a big deal for Chinese to celebrative Spring Festival?
- To celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest with family; and
- To wish for a lucky and prosperous new year.
So how do Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year? Well, in the Philippines, I grew up experiencing the below but at the same time, I added those which the Chinese people do in China during this celebration.
1. We wake up early. My father will force us to wake up early and start moving coz he said that we are supposed to be awake and energize the whole year so we should start it on that day.
2. We wear red clothes also underwear because it is a belief that red is a lucky color and it attracts success and fortune.
3. We clean and decorate our house with red paper chinese lamps & we make sure that the altar of Chinese gods are well-lit and food such as fruits and chinese sweets are serve infront of them. We even hang Hong Bao (红包) or red envelope infront of our door so that it will attract dragon and lion dancers to come in our house and bless us and wards off evil spirit.
4. We also give Hong Bao or red envelopes to our families, relatives and friends to wish them success and fortune in the coming year.
5. We also prepare food and usually we have sweet round fruits, sweet round foam bread, rice cakes, almond pie, fish because according to Chinese belief that chinese word for fish 鱼 sounds like surplus 余 which means eating fish will bring surplus of money and good luck.
6. Like I have mentioned earlier, there are lion or dragon dancers who visit different establishments whether it be commercial or residential in order to “perform”. Along with them are other performers who does the drums, cymbals and gongs. The drummer is the conductor and he set the rhythm. When we were young, my siblings and I, are always excited about Chinese New Year because we earn money by joining the lion/dragon dance. Lion Dance is perform by two people – one who controls the lion’s head and the other guy handles controls the tail. Meanwhile, the dragon dance is performed by many people since it is quite long and it moves in S movement. My brothers and cousins know how to play the drum, control the head and tail; while, I, just play the cymbals or gongs. 😀 Even my father was known to have so much passion in lion dancing. He would tell us that he does stunts and exhibitions while controlling the head of the lion, and they get paid a hefty amount of money.
7. We are also encourage to welcome the Chinese New Year by visiting Chinese temples. We live near Chinatown in Manila so the nearest temple that we visit is the one near Narra in Masangkay. We would light an incense stick and pray and wish to the gods. They are giving away soup and ginger tea in the temple and once the clock strikes 12 midnight then there would be firework.
So what are the Dos and Don’ts during Chinese New Year?
Don’t forget to send good vibes all year long! 🙂