Kung Hei Fat Choi - Congratulations and Be Prosperous!

Years and years, the Philippines have been celebrating the Chinese New Year.  Filipinos have adapted some of the Chinese traditions because they believe that, by doing so, they may also attract good fortune, vibrant health, wisdom, and longevity...  

Here are the top 12 Chinese Traditions in welcoming the Year of the Rabbit:

1.  Wear new set of clothing on Feb. 3, 2011.

2.  Wear new slippers.

3.  Put on new set of bedsheets and linens

4.  Pay all your debts before Feb. 3, 2011.

5.  Reconcile with your enemies, forgive and forget.

6.  Give Red Envelopes (Ang pao)  to children and unmarried persons (with money inside).

7.  Don't sweep the floor starting 12 midnight of Feb. 2 until 12 midnight of Feb. 3.

8.  Don't mention the word and number four (4) because it sounds like the Chinese word for "death".

9.  Don't cook, or use sharp knives and utensils because they may "cut off" fortune.

10.  Don't wash your hair or you may wash away good luck.

11.  Don't borrow or lend money.

12.  Don't mention death or tell ghost stories.

I think those are not too difficult to follow, right???  Now, how about the celebration?

The family members gather together, eat together, and party with some of their relatives.  They happily celebrate the occasion talking about the blessings they have received during the previous year.  They serve symbolic food that are believed to affect their family's future.  Here are some of the usual preparations for the celebration.

1.  8-Treasure Chicken (Pat Po Kwe) - A dish made with a whole chicken, which symbolizes a good marriage and family unity. Duck, which represents fidelity, may also be used for the dish, though chicken is preferred. The chicken is deboned and stuffed with ingredients like sticky rice, dried shredded scallops, minced Chinese ham, dried shrimps, lotus seeds and other spices. Sticky rice also signifies family unity while lotus seeds symbolize fertility.

2.  Tikoy - Also known as Chinese New Year pudding, tikoy is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. The color of the sugar used determines the color of the pudding (white or brown). It is cut in pieces, dipped in egg and fried. Not only is it made with the glutinous rice that ensures family unity, it is in a round shape which means unending prosperity.

3.  Pancit Canton, Bihon or Misua - This is is served because the long noodles are said to signify a long, prosperous life.

4.  Fish - Usually eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year. In Chinese the word for fish is a homophone for the word for "surplus" or "extra." It is best to serve the fish whole, with bones, head and tail intact, to ensure abundance and a good beginning and end to the new year.

5.  Shrimp - This is said to bring happiness and well-being.

6.  Boiled dumpling - In northern China they were traditionally eaten because the method of preparing them suggests packing in luck. In addition, the word for dumplings sounds like the word for the hour of the transition to the new year.

7.  Green vegetables - Said to forge close family ties.

8.  Candies - This is said to bring a sweet year.

9.  Sunflower, squash, or melon seeds - Believed by some to ensure happiness in the new year.

10.  Fruits - brings beautiful life and sweetness to the family.

There you go, you may start doing some groceries for the preparation of the food.  Or, you may also book your family to a Chinese restaurant, like what we did.  We have made a reservation at Choi Palace (I believe that it's the best Chinese Restaurant in the country).  I think it is easier to go there rather than preparing, don't you agree?

But whether you are Chinese, Filipino, American, or any Nationality, the important thing here is, we should be thankful each and everyday for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us.  That we are welcoming the New Year with open arms, facing new challenges, great fortune, longevity, good health, and bid goodbye to the outgoing year which helped us grow wiser and stronger.  

Kung Hei Fat Choi!!!

Choi Palace
Eastwood Mall, Libis Q.C.
Tel. Nos. 706-7807 to 09

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