The Chinese New Year is one of the major celebrated in the country. 5% of the entire population is actually Filipino-Chinese.
Besides the colorful celebrations that come with the event, the Chinese New Year is also rich with myths and traditions that have been passed down through generations.
Whether you are a pure Chinese or true blue Filipino, below are 7 Chinese New Year Traditions that are believed to usher in good fortune for the upcoming year.
7 Chinese New Year Traditions to Start the Year Right
1. Settle Unfinished Business for a Fresh Start
For those who religiously practice Chinese New Year traditions, it is a must to settle all unfinished businesses before the turn of the year for a fresh start. People usually pay off all their debts and resolve feuds among family members and friends.
On the practical side, settling all unfinished business opens up a better year with more and better opportunities to look forward to, minus the burdens from the past year.
2. Get Rid of Bad Luck by Cleaning the House
It has been a tradition among Chinese to clean the house thoroughly before the turn of the lunar calendar to get rid of all the bad luck that has accumulated in the past year. This includes clearing all the corners, creases and cracks of the house. Old and worn out items are also thrown away & replaced with new ones.
3. Attract Good Fortune through Lucky Charms
Feng Shui abounds with many advices for luck in business, health, relationship and virtually anything. Lucky charms are believed to help people in their endeavor to succeed in these aspects of life. It can be worn or used as decorative items inside homes and establishments to attract good fortune, prosperity, good health, and successful relationships.
Below are some of the most common lucky charms used by both Chinese and Filipinos:
Red and Gold Charms. Red drives away bad luck and symbolizes good fortune while yellow is believed to attract Yin and Yang, which symbolizes balance. For these reasons, you will often see dress, accessories and even home items or ornaments that are predominantly colored in bright red with inlays of yellow or gold.
Fu character. This is the Chinese character in gold and enclosed in a red diamond shape which if often used as a decoration. It symbolizes “Happiness” or “Good Fortune” and usually placed upside down on main doors to invite “Good Fortune”.
4. Invite Lion and Dragon Dancers for Good Luck
The lion and dragon dance is probably the most popular spectacle during Chinese New Year. This traditional dance accompanied by drums and cymbals is believed to drive off bad spirits and bring in good luck. In Chinese new year tradition, the lion is the spirit warder while the dragon is the bringer of good fortune.
Chinese households and businesses often invite lion and dragon dancers to perform inside their homes or establishments. It is also believed that bystanders who are able to touch the lion and dragon will also be endowed with good luck.
5. Ward off Bad Spirits with Fireworks and Firecrackers
Just like the typical new year celebration, Chinese people welcome the new year with fireworks and firecrackers. It is believed that noise wards off bad luck and evil spirits which is why a lot of Chinese businessmen still practice this tradition.
6. Share the good luck by Giving Out ‘Ang Pao’
‘Hong boo’ or ‘Ang pao’ is an iconic symbol for the Chinese New Year. These red envelopes are filled with freshly minted bills and are given to children and unmarried individuals. It is believed that the amount to be given should start with even numbers as odd numbers are closely associated with funeral gifts. The practice of giving red envelopes is also believed to bring good luck to the recipient of the gift.
7. Enjoy Chinese New Year Dinner to Draw Prosperity
Chinese food are also part of the great Chinese new year tradition. As one of the centers of culinary arts in the world, there are Chinese dishes and meals that are preferred for new year’s dinner because of their meaning and the good luck that they are believed to bring.
According to Michael Tan, UP Chancellor and Filipino-Chinese himself, giving Tikoy or sweet rice cake is a part of the Filipino-Chinese tradition. Eating this sticky and sweet rice cake is believed to strengthen family bond while sharing it to other people symbolizes the intention to get close to the recipient.
- Round fruits
Round fruits are often associated with prosperity and good fortune. The number of fruits is also symbolic: 8 for lasting luck; 12 for a year round good fortune, and 13 for a good luck to spill over into the following year.
An indispensable part of a Chinese New Year dinner is fish. According to Chinese culture, fish brings good fortune and abundance. Also when spoken in Chinese, its sound is similar with the word ‘extra’ or ‘surplus’, which make it closely associated with overflowing blessings.
Dumplings are associated with wealth as they copy the shape of the Chinese currency and look similar to ancient gold and silver ingots.
Noodles symbolize happiness and longevity. It is also believed that leaving them uncut when prepared and served offers long life and happiness to the person who will eat it.
Are you ready for the year of the Rooster? Do you know other Chinese New Year traditions that can harness good fortune and luck? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.