Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai/Kiong Hee Huat Tsai/Kung Hei Fat Choi

Today the Filipino Chinese (Filchi) or Chinese Pinoy (Chinoy) community along with the rest of the Chinese world will say goodbye to the Year of the Rat and welcome the New Year of the Earth Ox. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this is year 4707; and since the traditional color for Earth is brown, this year is also known as the Year of the Brown Cow.

Back in college I used to hang out with cool Chinoys who were my classmates in General Education (GE) courses at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City. They had their own organization called the UP Chinese Student Association (UPCSA) and it was through them that I got a glimpse of Chinese culture.

Chinese new year is also called Spring festival. Chinese households welcome it with rituals. Houses are cleaned and new clothes are worn. The color red is in abundance and lion or dragon dances with loud drums are held. Red and the sound of drums (or firecrackers) are said to scare evil spirits and bad luck away.

It is not uncommon to get "tikoy" from Chinese friends during this time. Tikoy is sticky rice pudding. Giving it to friends and family ensures that relationships stick and strong bonds are kept. The sweetness of this delicacy also means that one will have a sweet life in the coming year. Unfortunately for me, I've never liked the taste of it. So whenever I get a box, I regift it and give it to other friends.

I already looked up my horoscope for the year over at a Chinese astrology website and it's 50 percent good and 50 percent bad for me this year. Having been born in the year of the Snake, I will be lucky in terms of career and wealth but not in love and health. Thankfully that's just a prediction. So that means I have to work doubly hard on my health and my love life.

Well I don't mind that so here's to working hard in the New Year of the Ox! Happy Brown Cow Year everyone!

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