STARTING today, Chinatown in Ongpin, Manila will be abuzz with festive activities as members of the Chinese-Filipino community usher in the ‘Year of the Earth Pig’ which begins tomorrow (February 5).
Colorful dragon and lion will be held on the streets or in front of or inside establishments as these are believed to bring good fortune and drive away bad luck.
Chinese-Filipino revelers are also likely to explode firecrackers, as the noise they create is believed to be an effective way to ward off bad spirits and bad fortune
Owing to the same belief, Gerie Chua, philanthropist-owner of the popular Eng Bee Tin Bakery located in the heart of Chinatown and which features special Chinese products that are requisites to be atop the table if you want to invite good luck into your home, has sponsored a whole-day lion dance to be held around Chinatown, as he has done in the past years.
Chua’s children Royce Gerik, Royce Gerald and Geraldine have also brought into the heart of Chinatown the giant golden Buddha which has now become a tourist attraction. It can be found in their newly-opened ‘The Great Buddha Cafe’ located right in the middle of Ongpin and where the public may have their souvenir pictures taken for free.
Gerik said the newest attraction is on top of their planned day-long holding of lion dances which are not only meant for good luck, but more so, their family’s way of bringing entertainment to the young and old.
Too, unlike other business establishments selling the same kind of products, it was learned that part of the proceeds coming from goods sold by Eng Bee Tin goes to a fund which helps less fortunate volunteer firefighters.
Apart from the lion dances, Gerik, whose family observes the Chinese time-honored traditions in ushering in the New Year, said Chinese temples are expected to be full to the brim as Tsinoys pay homage to their gods to thank them for the blessings of the past year and wish for another good year.
Preoccupations of the day among Tsinoys, he said, would include getting a haircut -- supposedly to rid oneself of the past year’s badluck -- and settling all debts to start the new year with a clean slate.
Sweeping of homes, he said, should be avoided in order to keep the luck in. Cleaning must be made before the New Year’s eve.
Dining tables meanwhile, must be filled with food that symbolize affluence such as steamed whole fish or carp and pork, as the new year enters.
Also considered as a must on the table is the ‘tikoy’ since its roundness, stickiness and sweetness are certain to bring about luck, unity and harmony among the household members for the whole year.
Fortunately, there is now an abundance of yellow, violet and green ‘tikoy’ whose colors signify prosperity and which are being offered at the Eng Bee Tin bakery.