In the Philippines, we celebrate New Year when the clock strikes 12 on the first day of January and we also join in the festivities of the Chinese New Year, which happens between January and February. Normally, the celebration runs for 15 days.
History and importance
Chinese New Year begins on the new moon of the first lunar month, roughly about the time of spring. It remains the most important social and economic holiday in China.
The celebration is also given importance in the Philippines with President Aquino signing in 2012 an order declaring the Chinese New Year an official holiday.
The Chinese New Year, according to History, is based on the ancient Chinese calendar, which functioned as a religious, dynastic, and social guide.
Photo credits: Reuters
Traditionally, this was a time to honor deities and ancestors. Families would also clean their houses to drive out ill-fortune and welcome in good luck. Red color paper cutouts were also used to decorate windows and doors. There would also be lighting of firecrackers and giving of money in red paper envelopes.
While Chinese New Year has traditionally been a celebration for renewing family ties, some young Chinese people nowadays make the new year a chance to relax from work.
For the Chinese, the most important dinner is the one served during New Year’s Eve. Dumplings are usually served as the main dish. Other popular dishes include the new year cake, LaBa Congee, and Tang Yuan.
The Year of the Rooster
The years of Chinese New Year are marked by one of twelve Earthly Branches — rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig — and one of ten Heavenly Stems, which correspond to the five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The combination cycles every 60 years.
On January 28, we will welcome the Year of the Fire Rooster. Astrologers say this year will provide tons of energy to get things done. (Ker Olivia)