Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important festival for the Chinese community in the Philippines.
Over 5% of Filipinos are Tsinoys, or people of mixed Filipino and Chinese heritage. This has caused the Chinese New Year to become a major holiday in the Philippines.
The Chinese New Year is a celebration of the end and beginning of a year based on the lunar calendar. The holiday celebrates the events of the past year, while ushering in good fortune for the upcoming year. Chinese New Year in the Philippines is looked forward to by many Filipinos and is a time of happiness to be shared among friends and family.
Chinese New Year Activities
Filipino-Chinese communities in the Philippines celebrate Chinese New Year every year in hope of attracting prosperity, closer family ties and peace. Most Filipino-Chinese families usually clean their homes thoroughly, prepare lucky money in red envelopes, serve sweet foods and display various food and fruits on a table, which is believed to invite good fortune. People also participate in parades and dragon dances that are organized in China Towns in different cities in the Philippines.
For the Chinese New Year, red is a color that represents good luck. Aside from envelopes, people use the color red in clothing. These are meant to bring luck and ward away evil. According to Chinese legend, evil spirits and monsters are afraid of bright colors such as red. This is why the wearing of red became a tradition in China. For the same reason, the people of China would have an elaborate fireworks display of red and other colors. While the superstition surrounding the color is not nearly as serious as it once was, red is still worn during holidays and times when luck is needed. This practice has been carried over to the Philippines through the Tsinoys. Adventurous non-Chinese Filipinos have also adopted the practice of using red during the lunar New Year.
Great holidays are known for their food, and the Chinese New Year in the Philippines is no exception. One of the most popular foods to celebrate the lunar New Year is tikoy. This is a sweet treat made of sticky rice. During January and February before the lunar New Year celebrations, tikoy can be purchased in most grocery stores and Chinese shops. This treat is essentially a Filipino spin on the Chinese nian gao, a popular rice cake. Some other popular New Years foods include fish, pansit, and boiled dumplings. These are all related to bringing good fortune in the upcoming year.
Places to Celebrate
While there are places to celebrate the lunar New Year all across the Philippines, the most enjoyable locations are areas that have high populations of Tsinoy people. Some of the best areas include Chu Un Temple in Cebu City.
The Chinese New Year in the Philippines is an occasion that combines the top Chinese holiday with Filipino culture.