Chinese New Year is held on different dates each year. This year of the Black Water Snake, it fell on a Sunday: February 10, 2013. Most families begin preparing a month or more in advance for celebrating Chinese New Year, but we bought food and prepared for the festivity only on the day before.
I was surprised that Ongpin Street in Chinatown, Binondo was way TOO CROWDED not only with Chinese people but also with Filipinos. (It took me almost an hour in the line to pay for the mushroom zongzi and peanut powder in Eng Bee Tin.) 😯
How We Celebrated CNY 2013 in the Philippines
Like other Chinese families, we stuffed our tables with seafood, fruits, glutinous rice, lumpia, noodles, etc. However, unlike most of them, we didn’t decorate our home with red ornaments and lucky charms, didn’t offer a sacrifice to the Kitchen God, didn’t play mahjong until the sun comes up the next morning, didn’t set off chaotic fireworks and firecrackers and didn’t even bother to watch them explode in the sky. 😛 In sheer contrast to these traditions, we only stayed at home and slept early on New Year’s Eve.
On the first day of the New Year itself, we had lunch in my paternal grandparents’ house and gave thanks to the lord through prayers for all the blessings we have received. Food brought by all of us (potluck):
Held on February 17, 2013, our second celebration still consisted of none else than enjoying festive food in Shangri-la Finest Chinese Cuisine, West Triangle, Quezon City. I didn’t manage to get pictures of the food though, because we were seated in a circular table with people we’re not familiar with. It was embarrassing for me to tell them I had to take a shot before they can get food to their plates. 🙁
There were games for both adults and children, and we had fun collecting prizes from random raffle draws. The program’s host made sure that each person didn’t go home without taking a prize and tikoy for every family. And as usual, single men and women took “lucky money” enclosed in red envelopes (红包 “hong bao”) given by the most senior female and male members of the association.
Our latest celebration was last March 3, 2013. With maternal relatives, we had some truly superlative 10-course Chinese lauriat food service, family-style entrees, for lunch in Mandarin Sky Seafood and Shabu-Shabu Restaurant (Banawe, Quezon City) and won monetary prizes from raffle draws sponsored by officers of 旅菲南海九江同郷会. Mandarin Sky is a good place to gather with friends and family over a satisfying meal before moving on (with a full stomach) to the rest of the day or evening.