Time for the Roosters to Crow

As the Chinese New Year celebrations approach the excitement is mounting for all the Chinese communities spread throughout Asia.

As the Chinese New Year celebrations approach the excitement is mounting for all the Chinese communities spread throughout Asia.

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Chinese New Year takes place on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar and so it changes annually on the Western Gregorian calendar.

For 2017 New Year’s Day falls on Jan 28th – but make no mistake, the very traditional devotees of the lunar year will start celebrations weeks earlier with a series of customs and activities to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Chinese New Year 2017 will be the year of the Rooster! According to the Chinese zodiac Roosters are the hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented ones – recognise yourself? If your birth year was in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 or 2005 that’s you – it’s your year you Roosters! But, don’t celebrate too soon, it’s not that easy for you, best to be careful and read on to find out the top ways of warding off any possible bad luck. Join in the fun and hopefully good fortune will come your way if you are visiting the Philippines, Laos or Hong Kong!

Benevolent Binondo

Chinese migrants arrived in the Philippines looking for greener pastures, some fleeing civil war, some famine or persecution. A long established Chinese community in Manila, the Tsinoy celebrate with colour and veracity in the Chinatown district of Binondo. Binondo is the oldest Chinatown district in the world and now sports the largest Chinatown arch in the world. You will find the colour red dominating – as this is the hue of good luck – so wear red with verve down to your socks and underwear for as much luck as possible! The key is, though, to have others buy such items for you as gifts – the luck won’t work if you buy them yourself! Thousands of red lanterns are draped across streets and illuminated at night to beautiful effect. Be prepared for the shattering sound of fire-crackers being set off to ward off evil spirits. Look out for the iconic, flamboyant dragon dancers and acrobatic lion dances on high poles accompanied by musicians with drums and gongs- guaranteed excitement! The lion dancers will parade through the streets in their elaborate costumes collecting cash filled ang pao (red envelopes) from local homes and business owners.  Watch out for any ang pao that are hung slightly high up and see how the lions are operated to reach them – usually to a cheer and applause.

Lucky Incense

There is a strong Chinese (and Vietnamese) population in Vientiane, the Laotian capital, who will celebrate the Chinese New Year while other smaller cities such as Pakse and Savannakhet will also be hosting similar festivals. Chinese houses will be cleaned thoroughly before the first day of the New Year and additional plants and flowers will be prominent – even better if they are in bloom, as this symbolises renewal and life. Family is an all-encompassing focus for the Chinese New Year celebration and the gathering of different generations will see them wishing good fortune upon each other. It’s the time to savour family meals and enjoy the appearance of some desired seasonal favourites. Vientiane’s street food vendors will serve up meals plus the special fare that goes with the special occasion of the New Year. The far-reaching cultural connection is highlighted by the popular 10-day Chinese opera performance at Vientiane’s Fude Temple over the Chinese New Year. It’s open to all so make a visit when you can and remember a sure way of boosting your luck at a Chinese temple is to light your incense stick at the very point of midnight. Join the spectacular celebration and see why more and more visitors are falling in love with the charm of Vientiane.

Midnight Moss

Get ready, get set… GO!… it’s Hong Kong CNY’s celebrations! One the glitziest extravaganzas of them all and certainly not a penny spared in expense to make sure your future will be a prosperous one! The New Year’s Day parade features international bands, floats, marching bands and a sensational firework display! Still the chance of maximising your luck and fortune are in your hands so wear a new set of clothes and treat yourself to a new haircut. All those smartly turned out Hong Kongers are way out there ahead of the waves of chance to seal their own prosperous 12 months ahead. If preening makes you hungry then pick one of the auspicious food items available and devour luck while you eat! Try some black moss, it’s called fat choy in Cantonese, which sounds like the word for ‘prosperity’. Guzzle down as much as it takes – it’s all in the name of bringing you some good luck. Last of all do try to settle all debts before the New Year comes around, another sure way of promoting your good luck cause. However, with three great cultural destinations, great food, souvenirs, shopping and parades – we think you might have a few more things to add to the budget tally before January 28th 2017.

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