Welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit

Published January 22, 2023, 8:00 AM

by Jerico Villamonte

Contestants of the prestigious Fil-Chi pageant shares their Chinese New Year traditions

As we hop into the year of the Water Rabbit, we asked the contestants of the Mr. and Ms. Chinatown competition and asked them how they welcome the Chinese New Year (CNY). From long-standing traditions and customs their families observe, do’s and don’ts unique to their clan during the celebrations, as well as good luck charms and trinkets that attract good fortune, here’s a round-up of wisdom and cultural references we can learn from the ladies and gentlemen of Mr. and Ms. Chinatown includes batch 2020’s Kevin Ty, batch 2017’s Joy Wu and Angela Elpa, and batch 2022’s Ady Cotoco, Vince Aseron, Kevin Lao, Karina Ching, and Lorraine Wong.

What traditions does your family practice during the Chinese New Year?
Kevin Ty: We like to clean our house in preparation for the CNY and we decorate things in red. We do family reunions and watch my younger sister perform lion and dragon dances.

Kevin Lao: We usually have dinner in our house and do the 12 midnight “salubong,” similar with a new calendar year. We also eat round fruits like oranges since it is believed that these can bring good luck and happiness.

Joy: During the New Year Festival season (from the first to 15th of the Lunar New Year) the following taboos apply: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children from crying by whatever means possible.

Ady: Having our “noche buena” and eating tikoy together so that the family will stick together better. We also wear new house slippers and new underwear for good luck.

Vince: Something that we always do as a family, is that we collect 888 pesos of coins in a bucket and we shake it to create noise as we welcome the new year. This manifests abundance and wealth for the year.

Karina: Every CNY, I would always look forward to watching lion and dragon performances. Our family would usually eat together in a traditional Chinese restaurant. We always order noodles for long life and “yu sheng” or Prosperity Toss. What are your do’s and don’ts while observing the new year?

Kevin Lao: Do declutter (but sweep before the new year & away from the doorway) and throw out broken items and replace them with new ones as it is also believed that the new ones will allow good fortune to enter your home. A few don’ts to note on Chinese New Year are things like lending or borrowing money (signifies economic loss), cutting of sharp objects (because it signifies cutting off wealth), and having a negative emotion (because elders say that this will be your general emotional state for the year).

Joy: Do not wear white or black clothes as these two colors are associated with mourning.

Ady: Don’t fight. Celebrate with your complete family. Also, prepare eight types of circular fruits to display and celebrate the new year and make sure to hang three pcs of grapes in each doorway entrance.

What charms do you wear when celebrating CNY?
Angela: Yes, I always wear the perfect lucky charm bracelet for the year of the Water Rabbit which is called the Triple protection bracelet. This was given by my dad last year. For me, it does not only give me that enhanced luck in 2023, but it also gives me that chic look while wearing it.

Ady: Yes. We consult our Feng Shui Master and he will give the charms needed for each zodiac sign. Different zodiac signs wear different charms to enhance good luck or to ward off bad luck. 

Vince: Even though it is not CNY, I always wear my dragon bracelet charm given by my aunt. It symbolizes strength, courage, prosperity, and fortune.

Lorraine: I usually wear red or something new. Last year, I wore a modern cheongsam.

Are there specific practices you’re observing for the Year of the Rabbit?
Lorraine: This year I will be having a simple celebration with my family. Of course we will all wear red to welcome luck and prosperity! It is a great reminder that celebrations do not always have to be grand as long as you are celebrating together and hopeful for the year to come.

Kevin Lao: None, although I enjoy reading the annual horoscope forecasts about the Chinese zodiacs, I think it is important for people to realize that success, prosperity, and good fortune is not solely dependent on luck but also on our hard work and determination. For this year, I will continuously work hard (but smart) and continue to strive to be the better version of myself year after year.