March 2nd, 2011

Filipinos Welcome the Year of the Metal Rabbit

Filipinos, together with other countries all over the world, recently celebrated the Chinese New Year and ushered in the year of the Metal Rabbit.

While Filipinos are known for their passion when it comes to the Catholic faith, Chinese Celebrations such as the New Year is a common practice as well. Such celebrations reflect how Chinese culture plays an important role in Filipino’s way of life.

After being colonized by Spain and the United States, other cultures have also influenced the Filipino’s culture including the Chinese. Indeed, Filipinos have a strong devotion for their Catholic saints, but ironically they also believe in lucky charms and other Eastern practices.

According to a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), such practice of Filipinos is called “syncretism”. The term defines the common attitude of Filipino’s combination of different beliefs which is usually evident during certain celebrations.

During Chinese New Year, lucky charms and gems sell like hotcakes because people believe that having one would attract good fortune in the coming year. Though Catholic Bishops are against the common practice of having a different belief other than that of the Catholic teaching, the practice of celebrating the Chinese New Year has become more than just a Chinese celebration for Filipinos.

During the recent Chinese New Year celebration, Chinese-Filipinos and those without Chinese lineage observe age-old Chinese traditions. Among the usual practice of Filipinos for the Chinese New Year include cleaning of homes, wearing of new clothes, opening of doors, windows, and lights, as well as getting a new haircut. All these practices have something to do with the new outlook for the coming year and a fresh new start.

There is also the practice of preparing fruits which is believed to invite good fortune on table. The color red, which is believed to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune, is also a common color used during Chinese celebrations and can be seen worn by number of Filipinos during the said day.

Lucky money in red envelopes are also given to children for good wealth for the coming year. Others bathed in boiled pomelo leaves for good health. There was also an abundance of food like fish, chicken, dumplings, nuts, noodles, and sweets like the popular glutinous rice flour (tikoy) to symbolize prosperity, abundance, and good fortune as well as in thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year.


Whether a Filipino has a Chinese lineage or not, it’s the though of merry making and the idea of having good luck for the year to come that makes the occasion something Filipinos look forward to every start of the year.