THE Chinese-Filipino community in Dagupan led the festivities last week in welcoming the Year of the Snake with traditional events such as a dragon lion dance and setting off firecrackers.
Artemio Cheng Jr., a “lao shi” or teacher in Chinese, said the celebration of the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival is meant to inculcate the culture and values of the Chinese society among the youth, Chinese and Filipinos alike.
“The event is a way of recognizing and giving importance to the Chinese community and its tradition,” Cheng said.
“Most of the Filipino traditions every New Year have been basically influenced by Chinese customs,” he added.
Loud popping noise from firecrackers was heard over the city’s downtown area on Monday while red and oval paper lanterns and decors of inscriptions in Chinese calligraphy conveyed New Year greetings inside the People’s Astrodome.
Revellers, who arrived at the dome garbed mostly in red, greeted and chatted merrily with everyone.
Students of the Pangasinan Universal Institute opened the celebration by performing dragon and lion dances that awed the crowd.
It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the dragon or lion dancing aggressively can turn away evil spirits.
Students from other Chinese schools in the city such as the Divine Word Academy of Dagupan and Oakridge International School rendered song and dance intermission numbers accompanied by Chinese music, while other students presented an exhibition of wushu, a Chinese martial arts.
Cheng said that they are grateful to President Benigno S. Aquino III who considers the event as one of the most revered and festive events celebrated not only in China but also in the Philippines by both Chinese Filipinos and ordinary Filipinos. (PIA-Pangasinan/AMM)