2013: Year of the Snake (Chinese New Year in the Philippines)

I remember how we would celebrate the Chinese New Year when I was a kid.

My parents would take me and my sisters, all dressed in red, to the temple early in the morning. We would light an incense, pray for good health for the family and for blessings for the year to come. The temple would be a sea of red-garbed Chinese people engulfed in fragrant smoke from all the incense. My mom couldn’t see her friends through the thick smoke  until they were face to face, then with a start they’d  clasp each other and say their greetings in unison over the din of the crowd: Kiong hee!” (This is Fookien to the Cantonese “Kung hei!” and the Mandarin “Gong xi!”, which is a general congratulations to use for different occasions).

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