Credits

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy Chinese New Year!)


According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of a Golden Tiger, which begins on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011. The first day of the lunar New Year 2010 falls on the 14th day of February, which is Saint Valentine's Day, so it is a day the West celebrates as a lovers' day, a day of romance. To the Chinese, it is the start of the Golden Tiger Year. The Tiger is the third sign in the cycle of Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animal signs. It is a sign of courage. This fearless and fiery fighter is revered by the ancient Chinese as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts. On New Year's day itself, it is beneficial to celebrate, to be happy, to have smiling faces, and to refrain from scowling, quarreling, or criticizing anyone.

In the Philippines, a Tsinoy is a Filipino of Chinese heritage. It is a combination of "Tsino" meaning Chinese and the slang word "Pinoy" meaning Filipino. (The term Intsik has fallen out of favor.)

There has been a significant Chinese presence in the Philippines even before the Spaniards arrived in the 15th century. Chinese Filipinos currently number four million, making up five percent of the Philippine population.

Chinese Filipinos celebrate the Lunar New Year in January or February. It is not an official holiday in the Philippines, but students in Chinese schools are let out early.

CHINESE-FILIPINO TRADITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE LUNAR NEW YEAR
The food most fondly looked forward to during Chinese New Year in the Philippines is tikoy, a treat made from sticky rice. You can buy it from stores only at this time of the year (January and February) but don't forget that you have to cook it first before eating!

RED ENVELOPES. Red is considered the luckiest color and everyone tries to dress in it and have red things all around. Children expect to receive fresh peso bills inside bright red envelopes on which are written Chinese characters. They are called hong bao in Mandarin or ang pao in Hokkien, the language used by Chinese Filipinos.

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