Chinese New Year is here! Let us all officially welcome the year of the Blue Water Dragon 2012! Chinese New Year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday. In China, it is known as Spring Festival since the spring season marks the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival begins on the first day of the first Chinese lunar month and ends with the Lantern Festival, the fifteenth day of the same month. Therefore, the festivities last for half a month! Though I’m not a Chinese, I was fortunate enough to celebrate Chinese New Year for two consecutive years with real Chinese people (thanks to MUHS)! I had learned some Chinese culture and tradition and got acquainted with some Chinese trinkets.
So let me introduce to you My Top Four Favorite Chinese Things:
1. Cheongsam (Qipao) – a high-necked dress with distinctive Chinese features. It is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitting waist, and slits up from the sides, all of which combine to enhance the beauty of the female shape. It is the most typical, traditional costumes of Chinese women worn during formal or semi-formal occasions. It creates an impression of simple and quiet charm, elegance and neatness. I had the once-in-a-lifetime privilege to ramp a Cheongsam during our cultural nights last February 12, 2010 in Ozamiz and February 14, 2010 in Oroquieta to welcome the year of the Metal Tiger.
2. Red Lantern (Hong Denglong) – a basic symbol of the Chinese culture. It symbolizes brightness, happiness, and reunion. It is closely linked with the lives of Chinese people, as you can find it everywhere in any China town all over the world, especially during festivals and holidays. In Lantern Festival, the preferred warm red of traditional lanterns creates a convivial atmosphere during family reunions as well as lights up the hope for the New Year. We decorated the stage with a number of red lanterns for our cultural night last February 3, 2011 in Ozamiz City Hall to welcome the year of the Metal Rabbit.
3. Lion Dance (wushi)
– performed at business establishments during Chinese New Year’s celebrations for the lion brings prosperity and good luck to the business for the upcoming year. The lion, a symbol of power, wisdom, and good fortune chases away evil spirits and brings happiness and longevity! The MUHS Lion Dance Crew are highly applausable for their sacrifices in lion dancing!
4. Red Envelope (hong bao) – handy-sized paper envelope stuffed with money that is often decorated with gold Chinese characters. The elders give the youngsters hong bao for prosperity the whole year through! I had a fair share of hong bao‘s before.
Festivities are a great thing to jumpstart a New Year! Let us all be merry filled with all the good vibes and positivities for the year of the Blue Water Dragon! So allow me to greet you Gong Xi Fa Cai, Hong Bao Na Lai! which in English means, “Wish you a prosperous New Year. Give me a red envelope!”
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