Enter the Rooster

Article excerpt

Byline: JASER A. MARASIGAN

What was supposed to be a tradition among the Chinese has already become a fascination for most of us. With the growing popularity of celebrating the Chinese New Year, even among the non-Chinese, this festivity has surprisingly, elevated itself into a worldwide event with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai and Beijing leading the celebration (and was even declared a special holiday here).

The Chinese in the Philippines have kept many of their traditions as a cultural minority group in the country, but they have also increasingly absorbed many dominant customs of the multi-cultural Filipino nation, in the same way as we have adopted their excellent cuisine and some of their unique practices such as Feng Shui.

The Chinese New Year is usually celebrated some time between Jan. 17 and Feb. 19, at the time of the new moon or Yuan Tan. For this year, Chinese people all over the world will be welcoming the Year of the Rooster tomorrow. And like any other holiday, it will be welcomed by feasting, as this attracts positive energy for the coming year.

Binondo has always been the center of Chinese New Year celebrations here in Manila. The Chinese community in the Philippines celebrates the event with gusto marked by large family gatherings, with noisy firecrackers, beating drums, street performers doing the lion and dragon dances, and a Festival of Lanterns.

Likewise, hotels in the metro have come up with a host of activities and promotions to usher in the New Year. A "Noodle and Dimsum Festival" will be held at the Pacific Lounge of Pan Pacific Manila with a three-course Chinese set menu consisting of noodles, dimsum, salad or dessert.

Hong Kong chef Ip Chi Kwong will be showcasing his culinary expertise at the Holiday Inn Galleria Manila in an authentic oriental repast dubbed "A Taste of China." The lunch and dinner buffet spread will feature, among others, the all-time favorite Roasted Peking Duck. The Manila Pavilion lets you enhance your luck with its special menu that is said to bring good fortune. The "Green Rooster Brings Luck" includes dishes such as Fresh Oysters with Nori in Spring Roll Wrapper, Sauteed Prawn Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce in Taro Ring, and Braised Spareribs of Pork with preserved vegetables.

Meanwhile, the newest 5-star deluxe casino hotel, the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila, presents an elaborate celebration of the Chinese New Year with a traditional Bai-sun ceremony, Lion Dance and the honoring of the God of Fortune.

The Chinese believe that there are evil spirits around at New Year, so they let off firecrackers to frighten the spirits away. …