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Symbolism and Celebrations of the Chinese New Year in the Philippines

symbolism and celebrations of the chinese new year in the philippines

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

While the Chinese Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated in China, it has become a special celebration in the Philippines every year. In fact, the Chinese New Year in the country is special for Filipinos and the local Chinese community as it marks the beginning of a new year. Learn more about the importance of the Chinese New Year here!

Filipino Traditions during the Chinese New Year

As with China, the country follows a number of specific traditions in celebrating the holiday; most of the traditions, in general, are associated with symbolism. Here are some examples of the commonly practiced events in the upcoming Chinese New Year of 2024 in the Philippines.

The Chinese Dragon and Lion Dance

One of the must-see traditions during Chinese New Year is the lively performance of a dance troupe in vibrant Chinese lion or dragon costumes. This energetic display in public areas is believed to ward off evil spirits and usher in positive prosperity.

The dragon signifies power, encouragement, and strength, while the lion symbolizes safety and luck. The lion dance, in particular, is often rewarded with a red envelope containing money. Both the dragon and lions are adorned in a mix of colors, reflecting Chinese beliefs.

Symbolism Within The Food

The Chinese New Year of 2024 is a holiday in the Philippines known for providing many good, tasty food preferences. The selection of food options is also another way to celebrate the holiday. 

During this season, there is a high demand for specific items like tikoys (Chinese rice cakes), noodles, fish, dumplings, and spring rolls. These food choices bring success and prosperity to family and friends, symbolizing abundance and good fortune throughout the year.

As mentioned, the Chinese New Year is celebrated by joining big family gatherings and enjoying a hearty meal together. This practice is done as the new year is meant to be celebrated with others.

Make Some Noise

From watching dragons dance to tasting delicious food, the Chinese New Year is well known for bringing out life to many people. Another traditional practice is bringing up some noise. 

When the clock strikes 12, the community will let out the blaring of trumpets, crackling fireworks, and clanging nearly anything to make a noise. The festivities don’t end there. As the night concludes, the community comes together to light up a spectacular array of fireworks, illuminating the night sky with vibrant bursts of color.

Color Red Is The Theme

Red is a widely used color in Chinese culture. It has become synonymous with the holiday itself. In Chinese belief, red is based on the legend of the beast Nian (or The Chinese Lion), associated with the color. 

Additionally, this color represents movement, vitality, passion, and love. In the Philippines, wearing red clothing and providing red envelopes to children brings long life and abundance. 

Making a Trip to Binondo

Recent traditions in celebrating Chinese New Year within the country include visiting your local Chinatown. Binondo is deemed to be the oldest Chinatown, not just in the Philippines but around the world in general. Established in 1594, Binondo served as a permanent settlement for Chinese-Catholic immigrants.

In fact, it is a must to visit Binondo. No Lunar New Year is completed without taking a trip to the place. You can consult with local feng shui experts or cast Chinese horoscopes during your trips. Other interests may also include visiting museums and paying homage to nearby temples.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the Chinese New Year of 2024 as a Philippine holiday. 

Do the Philippines Celebrate Chinese New Year?

Even though it is not a national holiday in the country, Philippine citizens have widely celebrated Chinese New Year. In fact, 5% of the Chinese population is within the country that celebrates this special event with many festivals and activities, such as the Lantern Festival.

In past years, Chinese New Year was not widely celebrated or recognized as a regular holiday in the country. However, it has been added to the list of special non-working days in recent years, as declared under the 19th Senate Bill 1012.

Where Is The Best Place To Celebrate Chinese New Year In The Philippines?

When it comes to experiencing the liveliest ways of celebrating Chinese New Year 2024 as a holiday in the Philippines, Binondo is the best place to go. As the largest and oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo, Manila, is the heart of Chinese culture within the Philippines. It is the go-to touring destination for experiencing the holiday to the fullest.

Final Thoughts

Chinese New Year in the Philippines has become a distinctive and embraced holiday year after year. Its vibrant culture, profound beliefs, and enjoyable traditions resonate strongly within the Filipino community, which reflects the intertwining of Chinese cultural roots.  

While it was originally not a national holiday, its significance and importance towards the Philippine-Chinese community has made it a special-non-working day. In other words, it allows individuals to celebrate their culture and beliefs properly.

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