Kung hei fat choi!-A A +A
Saturday, February 5, 2011
FILIPINO-Chinese residents in Cagayan de Oro are one in welcoming the Year of the Metal Rabbit on February 3 with much fanfare and merriment.
Lots of activities have earlier been lined up by Chinese schools, civic and religious groups to make the celebration more meaningful.
On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the Filipino-Chinese Catholic community held a dedication Mass at the newly-inaugurated San Lorenzo Ruiz Filipino Chinese Catholic Community at Mega Heights Subdivision in Barangay Gusa, built in honor of their patron saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, dedicated by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD.
Around 600 Filipino-Chinese attended the dedication Mass of the P50 million estimated worth of structure, thanking their Maker for another year of success and blessings.
The Church is built on top of a hill overlooking the city with a mixture of Filipino-Chinese architecture, a testimony of God's love and goodness to their forefathers who braved countless ordeals in their quest for a better tomorrow.
The eve of the Chinese New Year has been observed carefully where supper is a feast, with all members of the family coming together.
Councilor Juan Sia shares that after the Mass, his family and friends went home and feasted on a sumptuous meal, consisting of the traditional food "tikoy" which, according to him, signifies unity and peaceful relationship with one another, just like the "tikoy," which is so sticky and does not break easily.
After dinner, Sia says their house and business establishments were literally "cleansed," owing to the Chinese New Year tradition of cleaning thoroughly the house in the hope to sweep away all ill-fortunes there may have been in the family and make way for the year's "good luck."
As the clock strikes 12, Kagay-anons watched with awe as a showdown of fireworks from different directions filled the sky.
In Chinese tradition, fireworks are believed to drive away evil spirits, ensuring good business all year round.
On the day of the Chinese New Year, the celebration started with a grand motorcade, participated by the members and officers of the Misamis Oriental Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (MOFCCCII), the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade, Big Bikes, Kong Hua School and Oro Christian Grace School, which started at the Rodelsa Cicle at 9:30 a.m.
Participants of the motorcade arrived at Limketkai Mall at exactly 10:30 a.m. Later, the traditional Lion and Dragon Dances were performed by the Kong Hua School lion dancers at the east entrance of the mall.
The Lion and Dragon dances continued with the throwing of coins and candies for good luck to costumers until it reached the Rotunda of the mall.
The Dragon Dance, started thousands of years ago, is performed by a team of highly-skilled dancers whose number depends on the length of the dragon.
The dancers carry the dragon, which is made of fabric, on poles as it swirls, twists and chases the giant pearl it is forever guarding. The dance must be carefully choreographed since a mistake by even one of the dancers can spoil the performance
The Lion Dance, on the other hand, is performed by only two skillful dancers whose choreographed movements resemble the graceful movements of a lion dancing to frenzied beating of the drums.
Scrolls found from Imperial China depict the Lion dance being performed for the pleasure of the Emperor.
Apparently, there are two styles of the Lion Dance--the Northern Style, having been used mostly in imperial courts is somewhat defunct while the Southern Style, performed to drive away evil spirits, is the one performed during the celebration of the Lunar New year.
The dance usually consists of two lions controlled by two dancers each. One holds the head and front limbs while the other holds the torso and hind limbs.
As a token of appreciation, business establishments give the lion dancers' money in red packets hung on top of their doors, to be picked up by the dancers during the performance.
The celebration at Limketkai Mall continued with the launching of the three-day MOFCCCII Lunar New Year Chinese Food Bazaar featuring traditional Chinese delicacies such as the famous "tikoy" that signifies unity and peace throughout the year, hopia, Kim Koi Kei (squash cake) and others.
The launching started with the cutting of the ribbon by Albino Limketkai, Limketkai Mall manager Ric Ledesma, MOFCCCII president Robert Ching and Lucio Tan, executive vice president of MOFCCCII.
Annie Rem I. Gallardo, marketing officer of Limketkai, says the three-day celebration showed off traditional Chinese delicacies and lucky charms with Chinese songs and dance entertainment from Michael Auxilio "The Music Wizard" and Ms. Dolly Estomo.
Gallardo says Chinese Cultural Show was performed by Oro Christian Grace School and Kong Hua School featuring skits, songs and other traditional Chinese songs and dance presentations, which continued until Saturday.
Other Filipino-Chinese also celebrated the Chinese New Year with lots of rituals inside their respective stores, which hope to bring good tidings and luck in the year of the Metal Rabbit.
George Goking, an Airforce reservist, shares another Chinese tradition, which is to stay home with his family on the day of the Chinese New Year for good luck and unity.
However, Sia says some Chinese traditions have become scarce since there are many tribes of China, just like in the Philippines, where inter-marriages from different tribes are evident which has given confusions on what rituals to follow.
"What is important is your faith in God and the good deeds you've done to your fellow men," Sia shares.
He warns that people should not be so superstitious.
"The year of the Metal Rabbit is about harmony and goodwill," he says, adding that people should focus on the good traits of the animals instead of believing in negative superstitions.
He adds: "Don't be so superstitious. Try to maximize the good side of an animal that gives you confidence and peace of mind." (Nicole J. Managbanag)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 06, 2011.