Filipinos and Fil-Ams shared how they traditionally celebrate Chinese New Year, and what the 2016 Year of the Monkey means to them.
“Growing up both Filipino and Chinese, I celebrated both the Buddhist and Catholic traditions, so it was a unique experience. We celebrated by lighting firecrackers, exchanging red envelopes, eating traditional mooncake and ricecakes. We also burned incense by the gravesites of our departed loved ones, to keep their memory alive.” – Gloria Ho, Glendale, CA
“I’m hoping for more good luck this year, because it’s my zodiac year!” – Maxinne Vergara, Chino Hills, CA
“This year we’ll be watching the Super Bowl, but we usually gather extended family and everything. We hand out red envelopes. We have authentic Chinese food, dumplings, and fruits, especially oranges. And basically for one night, everyone speaks Chinese to everyone.” – Luke Baumbach, Anaheim, CA
“I celebrate Chinese New Year on the Eve. My family generally goes out to dinner or orders Chinese food and brings it home. It’s usually a lot of food, signature dishes with significant meanings. Lettuce wraps, for example, signify money. And lots of food means lots of leftovers…which means an abundance of wealth in the coming year.” – Kathryn Wong, Irvine, CA
“We either go out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, or prepare food at home. This year, we booked a Chinese restaurant, which you should do fast because they get fully booked really quickly. Fish and noodles signify wealth and health. Before we eat, always do an offering for our deceased Chinese family members. We light candles and incense, and this is the part where we do all the bowing. Another big thing is the red envelopes, usually given during holidays or celebrations. Red symbolizes good luck.” – Jessica San Luis, Los Angeles, CA
“As a Filipino/Vietnamese-American, I celebrate Lunar New Year with my Vietnamese side. We typically have a party at my grandma’s house with traditional Vietnamese food, Bánh cuốn, Bún chả, Bánh Xèo, and Nộm ngó sen. We play a game called Bầu cua cá cọp, a Vietnamese gambling game involving dice, and we greet our elders in traditional Vietnamese. To me, Chinese New Year is important, because it gives me a chance to celebrate my Vietnamese side, culture and traditions. All of my cousins are the first generation here, so we don’t get too many opportunities to do so. ” – Anthony Nguyen, Diamond Bar, CA