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Chinese New Year in the Philippines: Why Celebrate it?

For the Chinese population in the Philippines, Lunar New Year is regarded as the most significant celebration. The Gregorian calendar, which is commonly used in many nations, does not have a set date for it. The celebration lasts for around 15 days with different observations made each day.

It’s important to note that the day of the lunar new year is not considered an official holiday in the Philippines but it is widely celebrated, particularly in Chinese communities. It occurs on Sunday, January 22, 2023, and most companies in the Philippines are open as usual on Sunday. Since the Lunar New Year is not a recognized holiday in the Philippines, all— if not, most— businesses are open. To mark this festival, several streets in a number of China Towns may be closed.

How it started

Since the Spanish occupation, which began in the 16th century and lasted more than 300 years, there have been Chinese presence in the Philippines. Due to intermarriage between indigenous Filipinos and other ethnicities, notably the Chinese, Chinese communities increased over time. The splendor of the Lunar New Year celebration increased along with the population.

Legislators have suggested making Lunar New Year a recognized public holiday. Due to the growing holiday benefits, it is still debatable whether adding another holiday to the Philippines will be bad for the economy. The Republic Act 9492 mandates that all working establishments provide incentives or overtime compensation to their employees for any authorized non-working holiday.

Symbolism on Chinese New Year

The primary emblem of the Lunar New Year is the mythical Chinese dragon. Firecrackers, which are said to ward off ill luck, and the Tikoy, a sticky Chinese dessert that represents the attraction of good luck, are some more emblems. 

What do Chinoys do during Chinese New Year?

Every year, Filipino-Chinese groups in the Philippines observe Lunar New Year with the hopes of attracting wealth, improving relations among family members, and harmony. 

Most Filipino-Chinese households regularly do a thorough cleaning, prepare lucky money in red envelopes, offer sweet dishes, and arrange diverse foods and fruits on a table in an effort to attract luck. People take part in dragon dances and parades that are held in China Towns in various Philippine towns.

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