Kiong Hee Huat Tsai! It is that time of the year in the Chinese calendar when the Chinese population all over the world celebrate the coming of a new year with pomp and joy. Headed to the Philippines for the Chinese New Year? Then, you might just be in for a treat. The Filipino Chinese New year is quite a sight for the eyes with all the colors and the fun that the occasion has to offer.
Lunar CNY in the Philippines
About 5% of the total 4 million population of the Philippines consists of the “Tsinoys” and it is this population that makes the Chinese New Year such a gala affair in the Philippines. Though not an official holiday, the Chinese population are given the liberty of calling it a day early on. Celebrated around the month of January or February, the Chinese New year in Philippines is a treat for anybody visiting the place at the time. So, how exactly is the Chinese New Year celebrated in the Filipino culture?
Red- this is the colour that is predominant in the streets of the Philippines as it is considered to be quite auspicious for the occasion. People generally dress up in red for the occasion and children receive gifts in bright red envelopes with Chinese characters, called “ang pao” in Hokkien. Being in the country at this time of the year means that you will also be able to satisfy your taste buds with the flavours of “tikoy”, the traditional Chinese New Year food made out of sticky rice, that is available only at this time of the year.
Another significant aspect of the Chinese New Year in the Filipino culture is the lion ad dragon dance. The Binondo district of Manila becomes a riot of fun and color during this time with the parade of huge dancing lions and dragons. People hang the “ang pao” on the entrance of their homes for the dancers to collect while they dance dressed as lions or dragons.
The homes are decorated with beautiful paper lanterns and red scrolls with Chinese inscriptions on them. The Chinese firmly believe that they should not owe any body anything at the beginning of the year and so, they clear off all debts on the occasion. They also plant a lot of fresh blooming plants for the occasion, symbolising the spirit of the New Year- renewal of life and vigour.
Accommodations on CNY
The Chinese New Year is quite an occasion in the Philippines and if you plan to visit the country on this occasion, it would be best if you can arrange for prior accommodation. The availability of a number of hotels and lodges make it easier for a tourist to accommodate themselves. Lodgings around Chinatown also have quite attractive deals under their sleeves which can easily be availed by the tourists. So, head to the Philippines if you want to have a taste of an exquisite Chinese New Year and Kiong Hee Huat Tsai.