(Feature) Bright lights, bright beginnings for Chinese New Year 2015

February 21, 2015 12:28 am 

By Noelle Andrea R. Padrones

MANILA, Feb. 19 (PNA) — The Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year of the Spring Festival in the Chinese Calendar, is a special non-working holiday in the Philippines.

It is an annual celebration which is awaited not only by the Chinese-Filipino community but also foreign tourists in the country.

The local Chinese-Filipino community already welcomed the New Year with a grand celebration Wednesday night at the Lucky Chinatown of Binondo, Manila, featuring the life-long traditions of the Chinese heritage that greatly influenced the Filipino culture.

The promenade of the Chinatown Walk in Binondo became more vibrant because of the presence not only of Chinese-Filipino families but also of local and foreign tourists. The festive spirit was easily felt as different traditions were presented to the public.

Ms. Go Suy Leng of the Miao De Chan Temple in Lucky Chinatown explained that the significance of the Chinese New Year "is to purify our mind and generate good thoughts.Traditionally, on New Year’s Eve, we go to the temple to pray. On the first second or minute of the New Year, you are generating a pure thought."

"The purpose of lighting the incense during Chinese New Year’s Eve is for people to generate that pure thought at that first moment of the New Year to get rid of greed, evil and ignorance, and to generate the thought of loving kindness and compassion," Go said.

"If we are like that, then we are able to get in touch with our pure nature because we purify our mind. And our pure nature is the Buddha nature. And that is the most sincere way of showing respect and sincere devotion to Buddha. After that, we also pray for good fortune, to be auspicious and for all wishes to come true,” she added.

The altar of Buddha is one of the most visited stalls as it gives the crowd a chance to pray for their personal intentions by offering incense candles while reciting "Na Mo Amituofo" thrice. The term “Amituofo” is the Chinese way of greeting one another which means "Infinite Light, Infinite Life and Infinite Wisdom."

The Money Tree in Lucky Chinatown is also famous for the belief of attracting the energy of wealth and prosperity wherein one can make a wish and throw some coins afterwards, aiming on the cart that seems to be being pulled by a dragon from the well.

“The Money Tree is more on customs and traditions, because we want that in the first day of the New Year, everybody is happy,” Go said.

The Chinese Lunar New Year will never be complete without the dragon and lion dance. The show usually starts at around 11 a.m. and continues until afternoon.

“Just like in the dragon dance, it is said that the evil spirits are afraid of loud noises. That’s why there are firecrackers and dragon dances, it is to ward them off," Go said.

There are also three human-size statues of gods, namely: “Fu” for happiness or blessings, “Lu” for prosperity, and “Shou” for longevity. These three gods are being referred to as the “Three Stars.” They embody the three characteristics of a good life in Chinese culture and can be found in many Chinese homes or ancestral shrines. (PNA)



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