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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in the Philippines, Season 1, Lesson 14 - Chinese New Year
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in the Philippines Series at FilipinoPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Filipino holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14, Chinese New Year. In Filipino, it’s called Chinese New Year.
In this lesson, we will talk about how the Chinese New Year is celebrated in the Philippines. This celebration follows the lunar calendar and is led by Chinese and Filipino-Chinese living in the country. It is celebrated amid the background of the unique festivities, food, and beliefs, or in Filipino paniniwala, that accompany this tradition.
In this lesson, you will learn how the Chinese New Year is celebrated in the Philippines.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What greeting do people use during the Chinese New Year?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
A greatly anticipated part of this celebration, even by those of non-Chinese heritage, is the food commonly served during this event. The most popular of these is the “tikoy” or Chinese New Year’s Cake! It’s a type of food made from glutinous rice, and comes in a variety of flavors that suit both Filipino and Chinese palates, including pandan and ube, or purple yam. Tikoy symbolizes familial bonds because it is believed such bonds should be “sticky”, or in Filipino malagkit. It’s said that having this every Chinese New Year will make a family’s bond “stickier”, and stronger.
Because of the large number of Chinese people living in the Philippines, Chinese New Year was declared an official holiday in 2011. Looking back at history, Filipinos had been trading with the Chinese even before the arrival of the Spanish. To contain the population growth of Chinese immigrants, the Spanish placed them in an area in Manila called Binondo. Commerce flourished in Binondo and it continues to be a center of commerce for Chinese and Chinese Filipino-owned businesses to this day.
The color Red, or pula, is considered to be the luckiest color of this festival, and thus, any decorations are colored red, and everyone is encouraged to wear at least one red piece of clothing. Older people give children money enclosed in red envelopes with Chinese characters called ang pao.
Dragon and lion dances are performed in the streets to bring good luck to one’s business or family, and the longest dragon is said to bring the most luck. Another interesting fact about Chinese New Year in the Philippines is that the town of Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What greeting do people use during the Chinese New Year?
In Hokkien, which is spoken by most Chinese and Chinese Filipino in the Philippines, this greeting is “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai.” However most Filipinos use the Cantonese greeting, pronounced “Kung Hei Fat Choi.”
How did you find this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you also celebrate Chinese New Year in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at FilipinoPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!