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Year of the Wood Rabbit: Chinese New Year 2023 Celebrations

The Chinese New Year celebrations in the Philippines are always a colorful and exciting time, and this year is no different as we welcome the Year of the Wood-Rabbit. This year’s celebrations will be filled with traditional customs and practices to bring in luck and drive away bad spirits, including dragon and lion dances, giving away ang pao, and eating lucky food.

Dragon and Lion Dances

Dragon Dance

The dragon and lion dances are said to be the most thrilling and recognizable events of the Chinese New Year celebrations held all over the Philippines. The dragon dance is a type of traditional Chinese dance that is done by a group of dancers who carry a giant puppet of a dragon through the streets as they execute the dance. 

Meanwhile, a lion dance is performed with a pair of dancers acting as halves of a lion in a single lion costume. It is a tradition in Chinese culture to celebrate the beginning of the New Year by parading a dragon around the streets and having the lion dance around. 

It is thought that the dragon and lion dances will bring good fortune and financial success and turn away evil spirits

Ang Pao

The giving of ang pao, also known as red envelopes, is a customary part of the celebrations all over the Philippines. In fact, it is so deeply embedded into Filipino culture itself that even Filipinos with no Chinese ancestry exchange ang paos during Chinese New Year celebrations. 

These envelopes, which are filled with money, are a symbol of good luck and fortune in the year to come. They are usually given out by older family members to children and those who have not yet married as a gift.

Lucky Food

The preparation and consumption of food are always an important component of celebrations in the Philippines. Dumplings, tikoy, and noodles are some of the classic Chinese foods that will be prepared by many families. 

It is thought that eating these dishes will bring good fortune and financial success in the future year. Some people also eat pancit, which is a symbol of a long and healthy life. 

Other people, however, like to eat tikoy, which is a sticky rice cake that brings your loved ones closer together.

Here are several dishes that are commonly prepared by the Filipino-Chinese community for the occasion:


Dumplings are a popular food during Chinese New Year. They are said to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots, symbolizing wealth and prosperity, and are usually steamed or fried dough filled with meat and vegetables and can be steamed or fried. 

Many families prepare dumplings at home, and it’s a great bonding experience for the whole family.


Chinese New Year tables commonly include fish. In Chinese, the word fish, “Yu,” sounds like “abundance” or “surplus,” wishing for fortune and prosperity in the new year. Fish is presented whole with head and tail, symbolizing wholeness.


Noodles are also a traditional Chinese New Year food, as they symbolize long life. Noodles are usually served long and uncut, symbolizing long life and longevity. They can be served in a variety of dishes such as pancit or soup, like lomi.


Tikoy, also known as glutinous rice cake, is a traditional Chinese New Year food that is said to symbolize unity and togetherness. It is made with glutinous rice flour, sugar, and lye water. 

It can be steamed or fried with egg and is usually cut into small square shapes and often served with a sweet syrup.

In conclusion, Filipinos celebrate this Chinese New Year, the Year of the Wood Rabbit, as a great time of joy and prosperity, filled with traditional food and dance. These customs and practices are deeply ingrained in the culture and are passed down through generations of Filipino-Chinese families and have influenced Filipino culture itself.

Welcome and celebrate the Year of the Wood Rabbit at HOLA. Book your table with us now.

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