BACOLODIAT FESTIVAL – KUNG HEI FAT CHOI!

BACOLODIAT  FESTIVAL is Bacolod’s Chinese New Year ways of celebrating the festivity. The name coined from “Bacolod” and “Laodiat”, which means celebration in Chinese. Locals and tourists alike gather together to witness the grand celebrations in the city. Colorful lanterns displayed all over the place which are the most prominent features that you would likely to see in the streets, restaurants , houses and other establishments.

What is Kung Hei Fat Choi means? In our own understanding it means Happy New Year but in Chinese, this is not exactly the right translation in English. Kung Hei Fat Choi is ” May Prosperity Be With You” or “Congratulations and wishing you prosperity”.

The main highlight of the festival are the dragon dance and the lion dance. It have been indispensable to Chinese festivals since ancient times and become a symbol of Chinese culture.

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What Does A Dragon Symbolise?

Dragon is a symbol of China, and is an important part of Chinese culture. Chinese dragons symbolise wisdom, power and wealth, and they  believed to bring good luck to people.

People celebrate Chinese New Year for two main reasons:

  • To celebrate a year of handwork, have a good rest, and relax with family
  • To wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year

Chinese New Year is a time wherein Chinese families get together, sit around round tables and enjoy the food and family time wherein the New Year’s Eve dinner is called ‘reunion dinner”, and  believed to be the most important meal of the year.

Streets, buildings and houses are decorated with red. Why RED? Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in the streets wherein people from all walks of life pose and smile for picture. Red couplets pasted on doors; banks and officials buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.

2017 is the year of rooster; decorations related to roosters will be commonly seen.

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In Chinese New Year the most common gifts are red envelopes or hongbao in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese to pass on best wishes. The red envelopes have money in, and are given to children and (retired) seniors. In Chinese traditions it is not proper to give red envelopes to (working) adults, except by employers. Putting money inside the red envelopes expected to give more happiness and blessings on the receivers. Hence, it is impolite to open red envelope in front of the person who gives it to you. Those who received a red envelope  wished another safe and peaceful year.

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Chinese There are certain food that must be eaten during Chinese New Year for their symbolic meaning. The most common Chinese New Year foods are:

FISH to increase PROSPERITY. In Chinese the word fish ( Yu / yoo) sounds like “surplus”.  Chinese people are known for being thrifty. They like to have a surplus at the end of the year, because they believed that if they have managed to save something at the end of the year, then they can make more in the next year.

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CHINESE DUMPLINGS – WEALTH .  According to Chinese legend that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year. Eating dumplings at the Spring Festival is said to bring good fortune financially, as dumplings look like gots, the currency used in old times. Dumplings are made of minced meat and finely chopped vegetables wrapped in a thin and elastic dough skin. Popular fillings are minced pork, diced shrimp, fish, ground chicken, beef and vegetables. They can be cooked by boiling, steaming, frying or baking.

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SPRING ROLLS – WEALTH. Spring rolls are usually eaten during the Spring Festival in mainland China, hence the name. Eating spring rolls are in a way to welcome the arrival of spring. The golden cylindrical-shaped rolls represent gold bars – which symbolise wealth.

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GLUTINOUS RICE CAKE – HIGHER INCOME OR POSITION. Niangao (nyen-gaoww / ‘year cake’) is popular dessert eaten during Chinese New Year. It was originally used as an offering in ritual ceremonies before it gradually became a Spring Festival food. The pronunciation of niangao sounds like ‘ year high’, which symbolises a higher income, a higher place, the growth of children, and generally the promise of a better year. It is considered good luck to eat it during the Chinese New Year period.

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SWEET RICE BALLS – FAMILY TOGETHERNESS. The pronunciation and round shape of tangyuan or sweet rice balls are associated with reunion and being together. That is why they favoured by the Chinese during the New Year celebrations.

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LONGEVITY NOODLES-HAPPINESS AND LONGEVITY. Symbolise a wish for longevity. Their length and unsecured preparation are also symbolic of the eaters life. They are longer than normal noodles and uncut, either fried and served on a plate, or boiled and served in a bowl with their broth.

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TANGERINES AND ORANGES – FULLNESS AND WEALTH. Eating and displaying tangerines and oranges is believed to bring good luck. They are selected as they are particularly round and golden in color, symbolising fullness and wealth.

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XINNIAN HAO or HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Travelista Journal

I want to travel the world and I want to feel the anonymity of being in a foreign city and being surrounded by hundreds of people who are going in a hundred different directions.

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