Gong Xi Fa Cai! Today, Filipino-Chinese members of our community mark the first day of the Lunar New Year (also known as Spring Festival or Chinese New Year).
According to Chinese legend, Buddha met with all the animals on this day and dedicated a year after each of the 12 animals that were present. These animals are the ones we recognize in the Chinese calendar today: Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey and Rooster.
This 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger (Chinese astrology also highlights five elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal). Most people believe that what they do today is crucial for one’s luck throughout the entire year.
For today, here are some ways to join in the Happy Lunar New Year festivities:
It is believed that the loud sound of the firecrackers leads to better days ahead. Families can set off firecrackers (or fireworks) right before dinner time. One can play as well with small firecrackers right outside one’s home. However, always be careful playing with fireworks or firecrackers. Do not attempt to light fires around flammable materials. Children should also do this with adult supervision.
It’s not a Lunar New Year celebration without lion and dragon dances! If possible, try to catch performances in malls or hotels around the city. It is believed that these dances can shoo away bad luck. Sometimes, there is also a “yee sang,” which is like tossing a salad. This is also known as a “prosperity toss,” which can bring in good luck.
If you’ve spent some time with Filipino-Chinese friends or family, you’ll notice there are a lot of “red envelopes” (Ang Pao) handed from one person to another. These are the most common gifts especially at this time of the Lunar New Year. These usually contain money, and are given to children or elders. Besides the financial aspect, it is believed that those who receive these red envelopes wish for another safe and peaceful year.