Living in the Philippines, a beautiful hodgepodge of cultures and races, has its own perks. Aside from our local tradition, we also observe various festivals celebrated by foreign communities residing here. With the country’s mission to respect and tolerate every one’s beliefs, religions, and races, the government leads the nation to accept the diversified culture only found in the Pearl of the Orient.
Since Spanish regime, Chinese started flocking the archipelago and over time, the influx of these Asian foreigners paved the way for the creation of Chinese communities all over the Philippines. Due to intermarriages among Filipinos, these communities continue to grow. With the increase of population, Chinese communities started to become one mighty social and economic entity in the country. Its culture and tradition gradually became amalgamated with Filipinos’ while Chinese and Filipino-Chinese businessmen continue to help driving the Philippine economy. As one big foreign group in the Philippines, Chinese has influenced the country in so many ways. An example of this is the celebration of the Lunar New Year.
The Filipino-Chinese communities celebrate Chinese New Year hoping for prosperity, peace, love, and harmony among family. Usually, they prepare lucky money slid inside a red envelope (Hong Bao/ Ang Pao), eat sticky rice cakes and fruits, and watch/participate in dragon dances performance.
If you have a Chinese friend or someone who has Chinese blood, how would you like to celebrate Lunar New Year with this person? What gifts would you like to give him/her?
HOW TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR
Go to China Town and join the festivities
Wear something red
Prepare sticky rice cakes and share with family and friends
If you are young, greet someone older with “Xin Nian Hao” and expect to receive small cash inside a red envelope marked with Chinese characters
Visit Seng Guan temple
Watch a parade in China Town or Binondo
Be one of those strong dancers lifting the head or body of the dragon/lion
Watch beautiful firework displays in China Town
GIFT IDEAS FOR THE CHINESE NEW YEAR
Hong Bao / Ang Pao
This is probably the best and easiest gift to be prepared. Just buy those red-colored envelopes elaborately decorated with gold and black characters and insert bills. A tip – better give bills in an even number for good luck: 500, 600, 1000. Never hand out a 400 or anything with 4 as this is bad luck though.
Impress your friends with your fine taste and knowledge about the best sought-after alcohol in China. If you can find Mou Tai, a liquor from Baijiu brand, it is rumored that you can easily become closer with your Chinese friends. As the authentic version of this legendary drink can be quite pricey and difficult to get even in China, you can be assured that this gift will be highly appreciated and well-remembered.
Chinese people mostly prefer tea than water so it is probably good to add more to their stock of beverage.
As giving in pairs means good luck, include this very cute and affordable tea strainer I found from Lazada, a Philippine online shop.
Supplements and Herbs
Nourish the body and prolong the life of your Chinese friends by gifting supplements and herbs. It can be a ginger root, Chinese jujube, black sesame seeds and any of those found in Chinese herbal stores.
Chinese love to start the Lunar New Year wearing new clothes from head to toe. Why not be practical and buy your friend an additional trendy piece for his/her wardrobe?
If this friend is soon to approach his/her Chinese zodiac year (mine is 2014, horse), better gift him/her with a red underwear, too!
Whatever you have decided to give, always remember that it is the thought that counts, so put your heart in searching for the perfect gift. Don’t forget that presentation also matters!
Gong Xi Fa Cai! Have a happy and prosperous New Year!
Curious what was the first thing that was ticked off in my 2014 bucket list? READ HERE