Are you afraid of ghosts? August 3 marks start of ‘Ghost Month’ in 2016

If you’re wondering why travel, weddings and important contract negotiations might wane these next few weeks among your Chinese friends, wonder no more. Today, August 3, is the start of the Hungry Ghost Month or simply, the Ghost Month.

Food offerings during Ghost Month

Food offerings during Ghost Month

Continue reading

If you liked this post, here are ways to share:

A Chinese Inculturated Mass

Today, in celebration of the 2012 Spring Festival, we attended our parish’s Chinese Inculturated Family Mass which has been the parish’s practice for some years now.

The church is decked out with Chinese banners and all in red!

What is a Chinese Inculturated Family Mass?

It’s a Catholic Mass – complete in form and substance. But some sections, especially the choice of songs, are sang in Mandarin. Here’s a video of the entrance song as the celebrants file in.

The Chinese culture is cognizant of the special role ancestors play. Even after they have passed on, it is believed that they continue to watch over and guide their descendants. In many Chinese houses, it is normal to find a family altar just for the ancestors with pictures of one’s dearly beloved. And on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day or other special occasions, flowers and food are placed on the altar and  incense sticks are lit up as each family member bows 3 times slowly and respectfully before the altar.

Because the parishioners are largely Chinese, the parish took elements of this practice and incorporated it into the rites after the Mass.

 

Wine bottles, round fruits, red roses are given as offerings

What makes this Mass special is the Catholic rite of ancestor veneration done after the main Mass. At the back side of the church, an altar was set up. A large painting depicting Chinese saints martyred hangs over the altar. An urn is placed at the front to hold the incense sticks. I took pictures of the two signs that explain the reason for the altar and the Catholic prayers that can be said for one’s ancestors.

 

The Ancestor Veneration Altar with picture of Chinese martyrs above and an urn for incense sticks

 

An explanation for the rite of ancestor veneration

Mind you, the term is “ancestor veneration” as opposed to “worship”. It does not replace or seek to put this practice on the same level as worship of God. Far from it. It simply recognizes the filial piety of the Chinese people towards their elders.

Staunch Catholics may feel uncomfortable about what looks like an Eastern practice mixed with the Catholic faith. But if we go back to our Catholic belief that teaches that we are joined in spirit with those who have gone on before us, it makes sense to include and remember them inside the church.

Today was a time to come together as a community. The children loved the performance of the Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe which included my son. Everyone roared with laughter as one of the lions stood on its hind legs, trying again and again to get the 2 red envelopes with money (angpao) that hung from the ceiling. And when it successfully got each envelope with its mouth, the crowd roared and clapped.

This is one reason why I love my parish so much. It’s this kind of spiritual and cultural vibrance and inculturation that keeps one in the faith without losing sight of your roots.

If you liked this post, here are ways to share:

2012 – Year of the Water Dragon

Today is Chinese New Year’s Eve and it is a time of waiting and celebration as we welcome in the Year of the Water Dragon.

(taken from dragonmyths.blogspot.com)

Of all the animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, only the Dragon is mythical and has never been seen by human eye. This is probably one reason why the Chinese go to great lengths to have a dragon baby.

In our family, our eldest girl is an Earth Dragon. And many predict that as 2012 is a Dragon year, the world population will spike as families purposely try to have a dragon baby. Bad news for population watchers!

The Mayan calendar may predict 2012 as the end of what we know as our world but in the Chinese calendar, the Yang Water Dragon is bringing possibilities for good fortune.

Today, the Chinese community in the Philippines will celebrate New Year’s Eve by coming together over lunch and/or dinner. Houses would have been cleaned and swept free of debris. Dragon figurines and fortune plants adorn the house. Those steeped in tradition will strictly follow feng shui advice. As it’s a Sunday today, I am also sure we will see a lot of people in our parish come dressed in red. And maybe tonight, we will hear a round of fireworks.

 

An antigue dragon lantern stand I inherited from my grandparents

 

Dragon figurines in our living room

To everyone, here is my family’s greetings for the Chinese New Year. May it be a year of blessings, prosperity, peace and hope for you and your loved ones.

KIONG HEE HUAT TSAI!

 

If you liked this post, here are ways to share:

Tikoy Takes a New Shape in 2010

Chinese New Year is always celebrated by the Chinese on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the Lunar Calendar. This year, 2010, that day falls on still another big event – Valentine’s Day.

To celebrate the New Year, Chinese families usually buy glutinous rice cake (locally called tikoy) to give out to friends, family and colleagues.

Tikoy in the Philippines has truly evolved. When I was small, all we had was the usual white tikoy.

What used to be just plain white tikoy evolved into a brown version some years ago as more people preferred to eat brown sugar over white.

Then a few years ago, we began to see flavors that can only be found in the Philippines as these use locally found ingredients. Yup, you can’t find these in places like Hong Kong!

Continue reading

If you liked this post, here are ways to share:

Ushering in the Year of the Ox at Home

Just a few pictures to show you the small decor at home to celebrate the Year of the Ox.

KIONG HEE HUAT CHAI!   GONG XI FA CAI!   KUNG HEI FAT CHOY!

Our main door with the couplet on both sides to wish good luck for the people living inside

Our main door with the couplet on both sides to wish good luck, protection, peace and joy for its occupants

A fortune tree in the living room. Anything round is good for the New Year!

A fortune tree in the living room. Anything round is good for the New Year!

The year of the ox (wait, those are CARABAO!). Hahaha...

The year of the ox (wait, those are CARABAO!). Hahaha...

Our antique dragon lantern stand and a RED lantern always spruce up the living room

Our antique wooden dragon lantern stand and a RED lantern always spruce up the living room

Round fruits symbolize money

Round fruits symbolize money

If you liked this post, here are ways to share:

It’s Tikoy Time — Kiong Hee Huat Chai!

January 26 ushers in the Chinese New Year — the year of the Earth Ox!

Here in the Philippines, we celebrate it just as, or more noisily, than the Western New Year. Binondo, most especially, will be the center of fireworks and firecrackers, lion dances, family dinners and the ever-present tikoy.

Tikoy is made of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, water and sugar. The ones from China are traditionally made with white sugar but here in the Philippines, we have innovated and come up with the brown sugar, ube, buko pandan and even the red bean variety.

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

red bean tikoy

red bean tikoy

Tikoy is usually given because its stickiness represents the strong bond of friendship that the giver wishes to have with its recipient/s. Its round shape represents eternity, no end. Tikoy has evolved, however, with some of them already coming in the shape of carp. It can be eaten as is, steamed or fried. We normally fry tikoy. We put it in the ref overnight to harden the tikoy. Next day, we slice them thinly. Then we beat 1-2 eggs. Each tikoy is then rolled in egg before it is fried. Yummmmyyyy!

Today, I went to DEC (we call it Diao Eng Chay) along Wilson St., Greenhills. The owners of DEC were very gracious and accommodating and allowed me to take any pictures I wished inside. I also went to Little Store which was not too far from DEC and also took pictures there.

img_4493-low-res

this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

Here are some of the stuff people were buying earlier for the Chinese New Year of the Ox:

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (carp, pineapple, round objects)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (golden carp, pineapple, round objects)

all kinds of round fruit

all kinds of round fruit

img_4495-low-res2

img_4498-low-res

a blown-up representation of an old Chinese gold coin

a blown-up representation of an ancient Chinese gold coin

The main doors of Chinese homes would have what is called a couplet (paired set of Chinese characters wishing the family good luck for the year), something like the one below:

couplet-cropped

I printed this couplet out this evening on red board paper and hope the kids will help me add gold trimmings to it before I hang these up on the left and right sides of our main door.

Tomorrow, I will plan the menu for Sunday evening.

Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Ox!

KIONG HEE HUAT CHAI!

If you liked this post, here are ways to share: