The ties between Filipino and Chinese brethren are undeniable. Before the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards, Filipinos already lived harmoniously with the Chinese people. Over the centuries, the bond between two nationalities has only gotten stronger and more evident. The Filipino and Chinese share traditions, partaking in celebrations that uphold each nation’s identity. Chinese Filipinos or Tsinoys share the joy of the season with Pinoys and even foreigners visiting the country for the holidays.
One of the many celebrations Tsinoys share with Pinoys is the Chinese New Year. The celebration signals the start of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. With the proclamation of President Benigno Aquino III making the Chinese New Year a Special Non-Working Holiday, the joyous occasion became an even more inclusive celebration for both Tsinoys and Pinoys. The observance of the holiday solidified the honor and respect the Philippines maintains over the influences, traditions, and contributions of the Tsinoys.
To welcome luck into their homes, Tsinoys clean their houses meticulously, slip in money in “Ang Paos” (red envelopes), display and serve fruits, and gift tikoys. The Chinese community shares this tradition with the rest of the country by holding parades and dragon dances not just in China Towns, but also in other public areas and even private establishments.
During the celebration of the Chinese New Year, three symbols reign supreme. These are the mythological Chinese dragon, firecrackers, and tikoy. The Chinese dragon and firecrackers are believed to scare away evil spirits and bad luck to make way for good luck and wealth to come into one’s family and business. Tikoy or nian-gao in Mandarin is gifted and served to friends and family as a symbol of luck, togetherness, and joy.