Come February 8, the first new moon of the Lunar Calendar, the Year of the Fire Monkey officially begins. On this night, 119 countries all over the globe will celebrate the Chinese New Year. Here in the Philippines, Filipino-Chinese communities have begun preparations for the special occasion as early as three months ago.
By now, Chinese shops are already filled with all kinds of good luck charms and even auspicious food. Another highlight is the dragon dance believed to ward off evil spirits. The festivities culminate with a lantern festival and a fireworks display for an abundant year.
But more than the celebration, Princess Lim Fernandez, resident Feng Shui expert of the Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony at the New World Makati, shared that Filipino-Chinese households also thoroughly clean their houses and offices before the start of the Chinese New Year.
For them, this “removes the bad luck from the old year, making it easier to welcome the good fortune of the coming year.”
She shared, “The first thing they should clean should be the altar. If you have a home altar, both Catholic and Chinese, any altar, no matter what religion. That’s the first thing you should clean because you have to remember that everything comes from above.”
Fernandez, who will also lead the Chinese New Year’s eve celebration at New World Makati Hotel, also advises to wear newly bought clothes and don new hairstyle for the celebration.
She also encouraged the adults to give angpao (lucky money) to the younger members of the family.
As for the food, the Feng Shui expert advised to put fresh fruit like pomelos, oranges, apples, pineapples, and bananas in the dining table, as well as sweet candies and peanuts. The rice container should be full and should contain lucky money—P168 placed inside an angpao because it symbolizes the “road to prosperity.”
And then, place carrots, celery, spring onions and lotus root on top of the rice container. The carrots and celery translates to food and harmony for the members of the family, while celery and spring onions will make them hardworking and wiser.
She also advised parents not to scold their children on the first day of the year to keep the atmosphere nice and happy between them throughout the year. It’s better if they give them angpao. This is auspicious not only for the receiver but also for the giver.
“The angpao they received must be hidden under their pillow on the eve of new year and then keep it in their wallet or bag for the rest of the year. Deposit it only into their bank account on the first day of the upcoming year to make the money grow,” Fernandez added saying that it can also be P168.88 or P16,888.
Outside home, workplaces should also be cleaned. Fernandez explained, “If you have pending work, this is the time to finish it.”
She also noted that unfinished business like debts is best settled or updated so they won’t carry over to the new year.
Catch more of Fernandez as she leads the Chinese New Year’s Eve celebration at New World Hotel Makati. Billed “2016 Fire Monkey Regale,” it allows guests to make wishes at the “Peach Wishing Tree.” There will also be auspicious activities like traditional lion and dragon dance, the New Year countdown and firecracker blowout.