8 things to do to ring in the year of the sheep

Michaela Romulo
8 things to do to ring in the year of the sheep
2015 is touted as a year of prosperity, peace and cooperation. Here is a list of things to do to channel these attributes, and have a truly happy new year

MANILA, Philippines – For many, 2015 has already begun but for the country’s prominent Filipino-Chinese community, the start of the Lunar New Year officially begins on Thursday, February 19.

Lunar New Year is a momentous occasion recognized across the globe. In the Philippines, it has been a celebration shared even by Filipinos that do not necessarily have any Chinese lineage after proclamation no. 295 declared it a special non-working holiday in 2012.  

The day marks the start of a 15-day long celebration. Even before the formal proclamation, many Filipinos have also been practicing the traditions closely associated with the festivities, mostly as an attempt to encourage more blessings and better luck for the year. 

So whether you are Chinese or just enjoy a wonderful excuse to have some tikoy, here are some things you can do to welcome the New Year.

1) It’s time for general cleaning

Out with the old and in with the new. The tradition of thoroughly cleaning one’s house before the new year is said to rid the home of misfortune. Every inch of the home is cleaned, and old furniture is thrown out. To rid the home of bad energy and evil spirits make sure to sweep toward the door. Furniture may also be rearranged to improve the feng shui in the home. 

2) Decorate

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After you are done cleaning the home, it is customary to decorate with mostly red and gold accents to symbolize prosperity, longevity, and happiness. Popular decorations include red lanterns, paper cuttings, and upside down fu or good fortune signs usually placed on or over doors. Plants such as lucky bamboo, peonies, and kumquat trees may also be placed around the house to symbolize wealth and good luck.   

3) Wear red 

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Aside from decorating your home with red accents it is also customary for Chinese to wear red during the new year. Red is typically associated with good luck. In addition to wearing red, many people make it a point to wear new clothes to symbolize the coming of the new year.

4) Give out ang pao

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It is customary for the elderly and married couples to give out envelopes of ang pao (small bright red envelopes with Chinese characters on them containing crisp peso bills) to children. It is a way for the older generation to extend a helping hand to the young and wish them prosperity.

5) Enjoy the fireworks

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The use of fireworks and firecrackers originated from fear and myth of the legend of the beast Nien(which is the Chinese word for ‘year’). It was said that Nienwould appear in villages at the end of each year attacking and killing villagers. Therefore loud noises and lights were used to scare the beast away. As a gesture of warding off bad spirits, firework displays can be seen in homes, along the streets in Chinatown, and in hotels and malls like Resorts World Manila joining in on the celebration. 

6) Watch the dragon and lion dancers 

Photo courtesy of Resorts World Manila

A parade of dragon or lion dancers can be seen in the streets of Binondo, in stand-alone establishments that recognize the Chinese New Year, and even in front of office buildings. Many Chinese believe to be descendants of dragons and they are viewed as symbols of good fortune. 

Be sure to also catch the performance of lion dancing world champions Kung Seng Keng from Malaysia. This not your typical lion dancing troupe. They perform a variety of gravity defying tricks and balancing acts that is sure to enthrall. Catch this one of a kind performance on February 21 and 22 at 3pm and 7pm, also at the Newport Mall of Resorts World Manila.

7) Read up on your Zodiac and Take a seminar with feng shui master Joey Yap

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This 2015 is the year of the wooden sheep. People who fall under the sign of the sheep are described as kind hearted, gentle, tender, clever, filial, and polite. Although it is the year of the sheep, different fortunes are in store for each sign of the Chinese Zodiac.

Feng shui is a Chinese philosophical system developed over 3,000 years ago in China that shows how the balance of energies in a space can bring good fortune and good health to the people inhabiting it. The word feng translates to wind and shui water, both elements associated with good luck.

This year, world renowned feng shui master and best-selling author, Joey Yap, will be giving a seminar at the Marriott Ballroom, Marriott Hotel Manila on January 29. For those who want to start off the new year with positive feng shui, this is not to be missed.  

His distinctive vision will be packed with insights and advice that touch on a myriad of topics, such as the industries that are bound to prosper this year, the emergence of medical breakthroughs, and how our current government will fare. Entrepreneurs, investors and even couples thinking of taking it to the next step this year are sure to benefit from his guidance. 

8) Eat. A lot! 

Photo courtesy of Resorts World Manila

Dinner during Chinese New Year’s Eve is considered the most important meal of the year. Typically, extensive banquets are prepared featuring a host of traditional Chinese dishes consisting of poultry like chicken and duck, fish, pork, as well as rice and noodle dishes.  

A very popular treat during Chinese New Year, especially in the Philippines, is tikoy. It is a sticky rice treat that is sweet and is viewed to attract good luck. It is customary to gift tikoy as it also symbolizes unity and harmony among friends and family. 

If the Chinese New Year also gets you in the mood for more Chinese cuisine, head down to Resorts World and try the Cantonese lunch buffet at Passions. You can choose from a wide selection of dim sum, main courses, noodles and rice dishes, congee, and desserts. For only P750 a head for adults and P500 for children 11 to 5 years old (children below 5 eat for free), satisfy your Chinese food cravings and bond with the whole family. 

Whether or not you are of Filipino-Chinese descent, there are many activities and traditions you can take part in to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Join the festivities with your family or friends and ring in the year of the wooden sheep with a loud bang for good luck!  Rappler.com

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