Metro Manila · Chinese New Year (January 28th)
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is the most celebrated holiday of the Chinese community in China and abroad. So it is not surprising that in the Philippines, a country which has centuries-old ties with China, Tsinoys (Chinese Filipinos) are always looking forward to it as well. Chinese New Year celebrations are big in the Megacity!
Chinese New Year is determined by the Chinese lunisolar calendar, making the date somewhere between January 21 and February 20 every year. This 2017, Chinese New Year falls on the 28th of January making the said date the beginning of the year of the Rooster.
According to the Filipino-Chinese community, the Rooster is a symbol for growth in business, adding that businessmen should be more aggressive and enthusiastic this year. Other experts say that the luckiest animal signs this year are Ox, Dragon, and Rat.
Chinese New Year in the Philippines is not celebrated solely by the Chinese community. Many Filipinos also join in in the celebration. And since many celebrate it, Chinese New Year is declared as a non-working holiday each year.
Centuries ago, Chinese immigrants settled in the Philippines built what is now known as the oldest Chinatown in the world. These immigrants settled in the country way before Spanish conquistadors docked on its shores in the 16th century. The community, according to experts, is among the largest overseas Chinese population in the region.
Chinese New Year celebrations in the Megacity usually last for half a month culminating with a festival of lanterns.
Megacitizens would usually see a parade of dancing dragons or lions snaking through streets and alleys (and even in malls) to the sound of drums. This festive atmosphere during this time of year is the same in other Philippine cities with a large Tsinoy population. These cities include Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.
If you come across Tsinoys during this time of year, greet them in Cantonese and say “Kung Hei Fat Choi”, or in Hokkien and say “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai”. These greetings mean the same thing – congratulations and be prosperous.
Megacitizens who would like to immerse themselves in the country’s Chinese traditions can look forward to the sound of firecrackers. Loud sounds are believed to get rid of or drive away evil elements and bring in good luck.
In some hotels in Manila, the new year is celebrated with a lavish fireworks display. You can also eat some tikoy while you're out celebrating. Tikoy is a Chinese delicacy made from very sticky rice. You can find these at the grocery stores this time of year but remember, you’d have to fry it first before you eat it.
Due to its popularity, this joyous event is also shared by other countries and its citizens even if they are not Chinese. Hanging red lanterns, money trees, and other Chinese accessories, as well as loads of food are found everywhere in Binondo, the city's Chinatown, and other parts of Metro Manila. People celebrate in many ritual ways, by throwing firecrackers, going to the temples, savouring traditional moon cake, and so on. But the highlight - and a must-see - are the parades of dancing dragons and lions in the streets of Binondo.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
When & Where
Chinese New Year
January 28, 2017.