How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Philippines
Chinese New Year 2018 is coming very soon and this year the Year of the Dog is being celebrated. During this time, Chinese or not, anyone who wishes to witness the celebration or even just wants to be lucky in the next 365 days are invited to join. So in this article, we are going to share every tradition that most Chinese do during the festive season.
When is Chinese New Year 2018?
This year, Chinese New Year will happen on February 16, 2018. During this time, almost every Chinese in any country join together and celebrate the coming new year. Keep in mind that the date changes every year because it is determined based on the Chinese Calendar or lunar new year. So in 2019, the Chinese New Year will happen on February 5, 2019.
2018 is the Year of the Dog
Starting February 16, 2018, until February 5, 2019, people who are born in the year of the dog are highlighted. Although many believe this means better opportunity for them, they must also be very careful. According to Chinese astrology, if it is your zodiac animal year, you must be extra careful not to offend the god of age, Tai Sui. Taoist teaching says Tai Sui is the god that gives people good fortune and luck but may give bad blessings to people who do not behave properly, especially during their zodiac animal year.
For those who were not born in the year of the dog, worry not as blessings and fortune will still come your way. Although some Chinese Zodiac animals will not be as lucky as others, there are ways to ward of the coming bad luck or counter the unwanted blessings during the Chinese festival.
How to be Lucky Chinese New Year 2018
There are different ways to be lucky or invite good blessings this coming 2018. It starts with what you wear, eat and do starting on New Year’s Eve until the last day of the year and we have listed it all below:
- Wear Red. In Chinese, wearing red on Chinese New Year will ward off evil spirits and bad fortune for the coming year. And for those who wear red from head to toe symbolizes a new beginning and having more than enough things to use for the coming year.
- Clean your house before New Year. If you clean your house before the new year starts, you are sweeping away all the bad luck that has lived in your house in the past year. This also allows you to have a fresh start in the new year. Keep in mind that this must be done before the new year. Doing this when the new year has started will only sweep away the good blessings coming your home. You are only allowed to clean your house after 15 days.
- Put Up Chinese Decorations. If you notice, most Chinese New Year decorations are always in red. This is because it is the symbol of good luck so having that color all around your house will bring many good blessings. BONUS TIP: If you put up Chinese New Year decorations, most of it displays or symbols of health and bounty which will bring more good spirits to your life.
- Offer gifts to the Kitchen God. It is believed that the Kitchen God reports to the Jade Emperor seven days before the New Year starts. So it is encouraged to offer fruit, water, candy or any food to the Kitchen God one week before the celebration started.
- Give money in red envelopes. If you believe your 2017 has been a lucky year for you, especially in business, it is encouraged that you give gifts to your family and employees for the holiday. The money is considered a lucky money that will give added blessings to its recipients. Keep in mind that this money is supposed to be kept by the recipient and not spent. It can be a hundred peso bill or an eight hundred pesos in total (since 8 is a lucky number in Chinese).
- Show respect to your ancestors. It has also been a tradition for Chinese families to pay respect to their ancestors and for everything that they have done for you. You can either bow to a shrine or photo dedicated to them or offer good and drink as an offering.
- Serve food that is considered lucky. This includes Chinese dumplings, spring roll, fish, Chinese noodles, shrimps, tea eggs, Mandarin oranges and a lot more. If you wish to learn more regarding the dishes to serve, read our article: 8 Lucky Fruits and Food to Eat in Chinese New Year
- Go to Binondo, Philippine’s Chinatown, to watch many dragon and lion dancers. Each dance usually ends with the blessing of candies or coins. Don’t hesitate to get as much as you can of those blessings as these are considered good luck for the recipient.
- Visit Chinese Temples on New Year’s Eve. When you visit a Chinese temple on New Year’s Eve, you get to light an incense for good fortune and hear the predictions for every Chinese Zodiac sign for the coming year.
- Offer Chinese Paper Money. As early as February, you will be able to find Chinese paper money sold everywhere in Binondo for the coming Chinese New Year holiday. These paper money are to be folded and offered on New Year\s Eve to invite more positive fortune in the coming year.
- Give, Offer and Eat Tikoy. Giving of Tikoy to the people closest to you or to anyone you wish good things for in the coming year is a tradition during Chinese New Year. Next is to offer the Tikoy to the Kitchen God to make his mouth sticky and prevent him from reporting the negative things about you. You also have to eat Tikoy because it also symbolizes higher year which means better blessings to come in the new year.
Chinese New Year Greeting
And then as the New Year approaches, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to properly greet Happy New Year in Chinese. The most common greeting is “Gong Xi Fa Cai” which is the Mandarin translation but you can also greet in Cantonese which is “Gong Hey Fat Choy”.